The final verse dealing with the fourth commandment to remember to keep the Sabbath day holy concludes, “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” This was very familiar to the Jews, as it should be familiar to us, because it’s a recasting of the conclusion of the Genesis creation account. Genesis 2:2-3 records, “And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.” The word for Sabbath has taken on two distinct meanings, both of which are seen in these passages. First it simply means “seven.” And secondly, it means “rest.” Rest is actually the primary use of the word “Shabbat” in Israel today. The standard greeting in Israel on the Sabbath day is “Shabbat shalom.” Rest and peace to you!

My mother used to say when I got in trouble, “there is no rest for the wicked.” That didn’t scare me too much but as I matured it began to make sense. The guilty have no peace of mind, no rest. And for sinners there is no rest or peace to be found in the Law! All have broken it! The Bible is extremely clear on this as was Jesus’ ministry to the religious leaders who thought they were keeping the law. Romans 3:23 is clear on this issue, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But Paul just takes truths from the Old Testament when he says this. Psalm 53:2-3 says, “God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.”

Yet Jesus calls to us sinners saying, “come to me all who are burdened down with falls and failures, wounds and worries, griefs and regrets and I’ll give you true rest for your souls” (See Matthew 11:28). Hundreds of years before Jesus made this call, Isaiah the Prophet explained it to us. He writes in 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” When the author of Hebrews talks about entering “His” rest, he is referring to Jesus’ rest into which He calls us. But notice that he compares it to the Sabbath rest of Exodus 20:8-11. In Hebrews 4:9-10 he writes, “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.” The only real “rest” from our works (self-efforts) is to be found in Jesus. He is our Sabbath.