Sabbath – A Time To Just “Be”

Kerri Ash, Volunteer Writer, South Barrington | January 10, 2024

Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your oxen and donkeys and other livestock, and any foreigners living among you. All your male and female servants must rest as you do. Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt, but the LORD your God brought you out with his strong hand and powerful arm. That is why the LORD your God has commanded you to rest on the Sabbath day.
Deuteronomy 5:12-15 (NLT)

God gave the Sabbath to us as one of the 10 commandments—it’s right up there with not committing murder! But why is it so important to God that we experience Sabbath? 

One clue lies in the timing of the message. Although God demonstrated the Sabbath all the way back in Genesis, His command to rest on the seventh day was given to the Israelites by Moses after they endured many generations of slavery in Egypt. For 430 years, their value in the world was measured by the number of bricks they made.  This is the opposite of what God had always told them—they were valuable because they were His chosen children, not for what they do. So He proved His love for them in the most beautiful way—by commanding them to stop producing.

Even today, we can easily fall prey to connecting our value to our productivity. We work hard to achieve our goals—often for honorable things like supporting our family, earning an education, or serving others. And while God blesses our hard work, He wants us to separate what we do from who we are.  

This is where Sabbath comes in. Sabbath is about our identity. Through it, God invites us to rest the productive body that He so graciously gave us and just “be” with Him, enjoying the fruits of His and our co-laboring. It is a reminder that God doesn’t value us for our “bricks” but simply because we are His.  

It is funny how the commandment before Sabbath is about idols. Busyness itself can be an idol. Often, when folks are asked, “How are you,” the typical response is, “Busy!” But oh, how amazing it would be if instead of responding based on what is valued in the world, we answered with what is valued by God—like, “God finds me delightful, so I am great!”  

That we are delightful to Him is exactly what He wants us to remember on the Sabbath. That He finds us delightful, even when we don’t. That He truly enjoys our presence. He created and loves us so fiercely that He gave His Son to remove all our blemishes.  When we live from this place, even when our doings aren’t themselves delightful, He basks in His delight with our being.  

Sabbath is how we offer God what He truly values—our being.

Next Steps

Might you feel a “Sabbath” tug from God’s Holy Spirit? A few thoughts:

  • Start small – even just an hour. Put down your devices and to-do lists and begin with a prayer inviting God into the time. Let Him lead you from there. Don’t get hung up on what to “do,” but simply rest your productive body and bask in how much He loves you.   
  • Check out episode 1 of Bible teacher Marty Solomon’s podcast study, BEMA Discipleship, where he shares about teaching his children to Sabbath using the phrase, “We rest. We play. No work. God loves us.”