Imagine that you live in a country without any kind of labor laws. You and your family are dirt poor, forced to work for someone who doesn’t know the meaning of a day off. Day after weary day you perform heavy labor for long hours and little pay, with no hope of a better future. Then something extraordinary happens. A rich man comes along and takes pity on you. He tells you he has an incredibly fertile piece of property that he intends to give you, lifting you out of your poverty. As a landowner, you will be able, for the first time in your life, to hold your head high. You will be able to support yourself.
But then the man makes a curious request—a demand, really. He tells you that he doesn’t want you, your spouse, your children, your future employees, or even your animals to do a lick of work one day a week. What do you do? Having been treated as a slave for most of your life, do you still retain the mentality of a slave, convinced that if you take a day off you will not be able to pay the bills?
This, of course, was the challenge facing the Israelites when God led them out of Egypt and promised them a land of milk and honey. Would they emulate their Egyptian oppressors by making work their first priority, or would they trust the God who freed them to provide for their needs as they observed the Sabbath rest?
Even though we are no longer bound to keep the strict Sabbath rules outlined in the Hebrew Scriptures, we can benefit from observing a Sabbath rest, putting God first and trusting him to provide what we need. Why not celebrate your freedom and your dignity as a child of God by giving yourself a day of rest this week?