I’m learning that so much of God’s work in my life has two sides. He blesses in the good times and He blesses in the bad times. He gives me what I need and withholds what I shouldn’t have. He tells me to love Him and He tells me to hate the World. That principle is at work in His commandment to keep the Sabbath.
God provides through work and God provides through rest. The Sabbath is not a break; it’s part of God’s provision.
When the Israelites were wandering in the desert, God provided just enough manna for each day. But they had to go out and gather it. His provision involved daily work. If they kept any for the next day it was spoiled. But on the sixth day He told them to pick up twice as much. The next day there was no manna, but the leftover from the day before was still good. Those who went looking for manna on the seventh day were not only disappointed, they were disobedient.
Unfortunately, I haven’t always understood that the Sabbath is a gift to me from God. Work is what I do because it’s what God expects. And because God commands me to rest on the Sabbath, I’ve sort of classified it with the rest of the things I do because God wants me to do them. God says work for six days. God says rest one day. By thinking that way I miss the true importance of the Sabbath.
The Sabbath is God’s gift to His people.
God provides enough for the Sabbath.
Whether I keep the Sabbath is not only a matter of obedience – it's a blessing.
I think that one of the purposes of the Sabbath is for me to stop striving and sit back and watch God provide. On the other six days, I receive His provision through my efforts - or at least I act on it. On the Sabbath, I have no part in it at all. I stay in my own place, open the cupboard doors and there is the manna.
One day a week I rest from planning, working or worrying. One day a week I open my mouth and let God fill it. One day a week I don’t have to do anything but receive God’s blessings.
God’s provision, obedience and Sabbath rest are tied together in this story. God provides everything we need to sustain us, but part of that provision is work. He provides, but we work to gather it. Then He adds rest as a special gift. One day out of seven we don’t have to work, but He still provides. It all works together because we obey Him to work when we should and not work when we shouldn’t and trust Him to provide in both instances.