NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies For Life curriculum.
Bible Passages: Exodus 10:8-11, 31:12-17.
— What does it mean to keep a day “holy”?
— What’s your reaction to the commands in these verses?
— What steps do you need to take to implement a Sabbath rest?
Food for Thought:
The American economy is built on productivity. The American mindset has embraced that same idea, and it feeds into virtually every part of our lives. We all surely know people who say, with a sense of pride in their voices, “I’m so busy.” With this mindset, we often believe our productivity determines our worth and value.
I’m busy. I’m doing something important. That means I’m important. If that is true, then the busier we are, the more important we are. If we’re not careful, we can find ourselves cutting corners, neglecting our families, and putting off things that are actually more important. God has given us a gift toward that end, called rest.
The Fourth Commandment — “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (v. 8) — instructed God’s people to set aside this time to rest and refresh themselves. Today, this practice is countercultural; it is markedly different from how we live. Despite culture’s opinion, God’s commands are designed for our benefit, and obedience to a Sabbath rest benefits us greatly.
This command to observe the Sabbath has two parts:
— We remember the Sabbath day by taking a break from our normal workweek.
— We keep it holy by using the Sabbath as a time of focused attention on our lives in Christ.
When we study the Ten Commandments, we notice God didn’t direct us to honor the Sabbath day without helping us to understand the underlying reason for taking it seriously. The reason has to do with the time frame of His work in creation. He worked for six days to create the heavens and the earth and everything He placed in them. Then He did something unique with the next day. Instead of continuing His work, He rested.
By taking the day to rest, God underscored the day in a way He wanted His people to notice. Even more, He expected them to follow His example. He guided His people to set the day aside as a blessing to them. While resting involved putting aside work for the day, the day also included turning aside from daily responsibilities to worship Him. As people worshiped God, they could renew their perspective on who they were in His eyes.
God loves us and is very serious about His covenant with us. He knows what we need and why we need it, and that includes our need for a Sabbath rest.
Bible Studies for Life
Bible Studies for Life connects the Bible to life for adults, students and kids. Bible Studies for Life helps individuals and groups know God’s Word through trustworthy content, creates biblical community through engaging and conversational group studies, and helps people engage the culture missionally by unpacking what the Bible says about real-life issues. More information can be found on the Internet at www.biblestudiesforlife.com.
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool or ordered at LifeWay Christian Stores.