In Exodus 31:12-17 though, after the Lord speaks concerning the building up of God’s dwelling place, after He gives Moses the two tablets of testimony, there is a word concerning keeping the Sabbath.
It’s almost as if God wants to make sure that, before we do anything for Him to build His dwelling place, we make sure we rest with Him and enjoy Him.
This is a principle seen everywhere in the Bible, both in the Old and in the New Testament – as we work for God and with God to build up His house, we need to first rest with Him and enjoy Him. Man’s first day on earth after his creation was God’s rest day, the Sabbath day.
Today we need to enter into the Sabbath by enjoying Christ, resting with Christ, and being filled with Christ, so that Christ in us would work through us for the building up of God’s house.
No matter how urgent things are to be done in God’s house, we first need to rest in God and enjoy God, and after then we can work together with Him for the building up of His habitation.
Lord, make us those who keep the principle of the Sabbath today. We want to first rest with You and enjoy You and then work together with You. Save us from hurrying up to do something for You. May we enjoy You first and rest with You first, and then let You work in us and through us for the building up of Your house.
Keeping the Principle of the Sabbath
Even though we as “Gentile believers” today don’t need to outwardly keep the Sabbath as the Jews were commanded to in the Old Testament, we need to keep the principle of the Sabbath as the Lord Jesus did.
The principle of the Sabbath is resting with God and enjoying God – fasting from enjoying our own things, the worldly things, or anything else, and enjoying God by spending time with Him and being one with Him.
For us to build the church with gold, silver, and precious stones, we need to first enjoy the Lord and be one with Him, and then do everything in this oneness with the Lord.
If we only know how to work for the Lord and yet do not know how to rest with Him, we are acting contrary to the divine principle as revealed in the Bible. The Lord told the builders of the tabernacle in Exodus 31 that they have to rest with Him as they worked for Him.
In Gen. 2:2 we see that God rested when all His work was accomplished, and especially after He created man in His image and with His likeness. When man in God’s image was created, God was satisfied – He knew that man will manifest His glory and man will deal with God’s enemy to represent Him on earth.
We today need to rest with the Lord, enjoy Him, and be filled with Him, and then we can work together with Him by allowing Him to work in us and through us. This is the principle of the Sabbath.
Not a Day but a Principle of Living
Many Christians debate concerning Sabbath, whether it is on Saturday or on Sunday, and how should they keep it, etc.
The Seventh-Day Adventists insist on keeping the Sabbath on the seventh day, Saturday, while most Christians keep the Lord’s Day, Sunday, as the reality of the Sabbath in the New Testament (the first day of the week).
But keeping the Sabbath doesn’t have to do with the day of the week you’re setting aside for the Lord – it has to do with the principle of the Sabbath.
God saved us, regenerated us, and is continually renewing and transforming us so that we may work together with Him in His economy. According to the principle of the Sabbath we need to learn to rest with the Lord and enjoy Him first before and even as we work with Him.
As we spend time with the Lord and we enjoy Him, we are infused by Him with His desire and burden to dispense and minister God to man, and we will work together with Him in this.
God doesn’t want us to do our best to work for Him or to do things apart from Him yet for Him.
Rather, He wants to be organically joined to us and make us one with Him, so that in this organic union we would do the same things that He does, one with Him, for the building up of the church!
God Works and then Rests; We Rest and then Work
In Genesis we see how God first worked and accomplished everything, and then He rested. With us the principle is the other way around: we first rest with God and enjoy God, and then we work with God and for God – just as Adam first rested with God (his first day was God’s rest day) and then he worked with God.
May we be those who work together with God by abiding in God, enjoying God, and having a river of water gushing up our of our innermost being (John 7:37-38) as our cooperation with God!
Lord, keep us in the organic union! Save us from debating concerning outward regulations and things related to the Sabbath. May we be those who keep the Sabbath by enjoying You first and resting with You before all things. Lord, make us one with You that we may work together with You and in You!
Read the continuation of this article via,
which introduces a list of verses from the New Testament on how we can see the Principle of the Sabbath is seen in the Christian living and work, as taught by the Lord Jesus and lived out by the disciples.
References and Further Reading
- Sharing inspired from, Life-study of Exodus (msg. 172), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, The Unique Work in the Lord’s Recovery, week 6 (entitled, Keeping the Principle of the Sabbath in Relation to the Work of Building).
- Buy this morning revival book online via Living Stream Ministry.
- Further reading:
# The Principle of the Sabbath (as seen in the New Testament);
# Keeping the Sabbath and Fasting, as seen in Isaiah;
# What is the intrinsic meaning of Sabbath?
- Hymns on this topic:
# Christ is my sabbath and new moon, / My morning and my day, / My age and my eternity / That ne’er will pass away.
# Lord, I believe a rest remains / To all Thy people known; / A rest where pure enjoyment reigns, / And Thou art loved alone.
# Grace in its highest definition is / God in the Son to be enjoyed by us; / It is not only something done or giv’n, / But God Himself, our portion glorious.
- Picture credit: taken by me in Romford, close to Bower House.