Updated: Feb 18, 2020
Sabbath means that there’s enough bread, that we don’t have to hustle every day of our lives. There’s no record that Pharaoh ever took a day off. People who think their lives consist of struggling to get more and more can never slow down because they won’t ever have enough.”
Immediately after quoting Brueggeman, Ryken adds: “To struggle this way is to go back to Egypt and all the drudgeries of slavery.” Keeping the Lord’s Day is the way of freedom and rest. But how many of us really live out that truth? Even in the church, few see this day as distinctive in any meaningful way. It isn’t just rest. It’s rest in Jesus Christ. I can’t help but think of Jesus’ words to Martha:
Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her (Luke 10:41-42, ESV).
Jesus’ statement has application to our attitudes and practices when it comes to the Lord’s Day. As Ryken says earlier in his commentary, a proper biblical understanding of Sabbath recognizes that it is God’s gift to us as His people, a gift by which He means to bless us with rest through Jesus. Receiving the gift requires believing God.
The Lord’s Day inculcates us in living with God as our Lord and God. But Exodus 16:21-36 takes pains to show that He is by no means a taskmaster like Pharaoh. On the contrary, His intentions about His people are radically different. He gives us rest in Jesus Christ. We can submit to God with confidence. Far from being restrictive, legalistic, or boring, keeping the Lord’s Day is really about receiving the rest we both need and desire in Jesus Christ.