After seeing who are the workers of the tabernacle and what are their qualifications, today we want to see how God rested and was refreshed on the Sabbath, and therefore He charged that His people would keep His Sabbaths (Exo. 31:13-16); today we want to see what it means to keep the principle of the Sabbath.
Who is qualified to build the tabernacle, that is, to build up the church? In Exodus 30-31 we see that God chose Bezalel as a master-builder, and He also chose Oholiab as his co-master builder; together with these, there were many who were “wise in heart”, filled with wisdom from God to do the work of the building.
God has called a few master builders, but we all as believers in Christ are the co-builders and co-workers with God and with one another, doing the noble work of the building up of the church.
For us to build up the church we need to be in the shadow of God’s grace, enjoying Him and taking Him as our protection and covering, and we need to be full of light, not having any dark part. As builders of God’s dwelling place, we need to be free, noble, pure, and clean; we need to enjoy the Lord’s freedom and satisfaction with the full enjoyment of Christ.
In order for us to do the building work we need to be filled with the Spirit and have the wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and skill given by the Spirit. We don’t build according to our natural capability, zeal, desire, or idea; we build up the church according to the vision of God’s New Testament economy and with the wisdom, skill, understanding, and knowledge coming from the Spirit.
We all are qualified to build the church as God’s dwelling place, whether we are of a high or of a low descent, as long as we are filled with the Spirit, stirred in our heart by the Lord, and filled with wisdom and understanding that comes from the Spirit.
We need to ask the Lord to make us willing to do something for God’s building; we simply need to be open and emptied of anything else so that He may come in and freshly fill us.
How can we be filled with the Spirit? It is by praying unceasingly; we need to be willing and empty and continuously pray so that we may have the wisdom to work in the divine nature and to minister to the needy ones the particular portion of Christ that they need for their growth in life and God’s building.
On the Sabbath God Rested and was Refreshed with the Man He Created in His Image
After the charge for the building of the tabernacle in Exo. 31, the Lord followed by telling His people to keep His Sabbaths for they are a sign between Him and them throughout their generations, so that they may know that He is Jehovah who sanctifies them (Exo. 31:13-17).
The children of Israel were to keep the Sabbath and observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant, for it was a sign between them and Jehovah; Jehovah made the heaven and earth in six days, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.
After God created man in His image and according to His likeness so that man would express Him and represent Him by dealing with satan, God looked and man and said, Very good! Then, He rested from His work of creation (Gen. 1:31).
When man came out of God’s creating hand on his first day, he entered into God’s seventh day which was a day of rest and refreshment. Man’s first day was a day of rest and refreshment with God, a day of rest and enjoyment (Gen. 1:31-2:2).
God rested because He had finished His work and was satisfied: His glory was manifested in the man who bore His image, and His authority was about to be exercised for the subduing of His enemy through man. As long as man expresses God and deals with His enemy, God is satisfied and can rest.
This is a principle in the whole universe: man was created not to “work for God” or “work with God” but to rest with God and be God’s satisfaction. This is why the Lord calls us, all those who labor and toil, to come to Him and find rest for our souls, and take His yoke upon us, for His yoke and burden are light (Matt. 11:28-30).
This rest and enjoyment with satisfaction is a principle that can be seen throughout the Bible: the development of this includes the rest of the Sabbath day (Exo. 20:8-11) and the rest of the good land (Deut. 12:9; Heb. 4:8) in the Old Testament, the rest of the Lord’s Day in the New Testament (Rev. 1:10; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2), and the rest of the millennial kingdom (Heb. 4:1, 3, 9, 11).
The consummation of the Sabbath rest is the rest of the new heaven and new earth with the New Jerusalem, where all God’s redeemed saints will express His glory (Rev. 21:11, 23) and will reign with God’s authority (Rev. 22:5) for eternity.
Today we as believers in Christ need to realize that on the Sabbath God rested and was refreshed with man, so we need to first of all enjoy God, rest with God, and be satisfied in God and with God.
This is the first and primary matter we need to take care of, and this should be something we do regularly: enjoy God, rest in God, be filled with God, and take God as our satisfaction, for in this way God enjoys us, He rests with us, and He is satisfied with us, His people.
Thank You God for creating us in Your image not to work for You but to rest with You and be satisfied in You. Hallelujah, the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. Lord, we take You as our rest, enjoyment, and satisfaction; before all and above all we just want to enjoy You, delight ourselves in You, and rest in You and with You. Lord, bring us fully into Your rest and satisfaction so that we may become Your rest and satisfaction for Your enjoyment!
The Principle of the Sabbath is that we First Enjoy God and Rest in Him, then we Work one with Him
The fact that man’s first day was a day of rest (man’s first day was God’s seventh day, which was a day of rest) shows us a divine principle, the principle of the Sabbath: we first enjoy God and rest in Him, and then we work one with Him (see 1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor. 6:1).
God first supplies us with enjoyment, and then we work together with Him by being one with Him in His work. God doesn’t need us to DO things for Him; He wants us to first enjoy Him and rest in Him, even as He is satisfied and refreshed with us expressing Him and representing Him, and then we can work with Him.
Man’s first day was a day of enjoyment and rest; we need to rest one with the Lord and enjoy Him to the uttermost, and then we can do something for Him. After we are fully supplied with enjoyment from the Lord, we may work together with Him.
How can we be one with God in His work? It is by first resting in God, enjoying God, and being filled with God, and then we can work with Him by being one with Him.
The New Testament ministry of the apostles began with the enjoyment they had on the day of Pentecost….When they were filled with the Spirit,…they were filled with the enjoyment of the Lord….Others thought that they were drunk with wine. Actually they were filled with the enjoyment of the heavenly wine. Only after they had been filled with this enjoyment did they begin to work with God. This is the way to work with God, the way to work in oneness with Him. When Peter stood up with the apostles to preach the gospel and thereby do a work for God, they all were one with God in His work. (Life-study of Exodus, p. 1825, by Witness Lee)
Before we do anything for God we need to first enjoy Him. Before the disciples preached the gospel to enlarge the kingdom of God, they were first filled with the Holy Spirit to the brim (Acts. 2:13, 15). Early in the morning, the disciples were filled not with wine but with the Spirit.
When we wake up in the morning, before we do anything, we need to keep the Sabbath by enjoying the Lord. It is amazing that we can love the Lord today by enjoying Him, and this is so enjoyable! After we enjoy the Lord and are saturated with His enjoyment, we can serve Him.
In the church life, before we do any service, we need to enjoy the Lord; we may need to arrange the chairs or do some practical service, but before we do it, we need to enjoy the Lord together! The joy of the Lord is our strength; the enjoyment of Christ is our serving supply.
We are created not to work but to be satisfied with God and rest with Him; the burden from the Lord and His work should be an easy, light, mild, kind, good, and pleasant thing for us as we come to the Lord to enjoy Him and take His yoke and burden upon us.
May we all enter into God’s rest and keep the principle of the Sabbath all the days of our lives by first enjoying God and then being one with Him in His work!
Lord Jesus, we want to keep the principle of the Sabbath by first enjoying You, being satisfied with You, and being filled with Your enjoyment, and then being one with You in Your work. Thank You Lord for creating us not to work but to enjoy You and rest in You. Fill us with Your enjoyment. We want to contact You first thing in the morning and be filled with You all throughout the day, so that whatever we do we would be one with You for the building up of Your dwelling place. Amen, Lord, we love You and we love to enjoy You!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by brother Ed M. for this week, and Life-study of Exodus, msg. 172 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-Study of Exodus (part 4, 2016 Summer Training), msg. 11 (week 47 in the HWMR), The Workers of the Tabernacle and the Sabbath in Relation to the Building Work.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Lord, I believe a rest remains / To all Thy people known; / A rest where pure enjoyment reigns, / And Thou art loved alone…. / Remove this hardness from my heart, / This unbelief remove; / To me the rest of faith impart, / The Sabbath of Thy love. (Hymns #424)
# Jesus! I am resting, resting / In the joy of what Thou art; / I am finding out the greatness / Of Thy loving heart. / Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee, / And Thy beauty fills my soul, / For, by Thy transforming power, / Thou hast made me whole. / Jesus! I am resting, resting / In the joy of what Thou art; / I am finding out the greatness / Of Thy loving heart. (Hymns #579)
# O Jesus, Lord, with me abide; / I rest in Thee, whate’er betide; / Thy gracious smile is my reward; / I love, I love Thee, Lord! (Hymns #208)
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