When the Lord delivered the Children of Israel from Egypt, His desire was to bring them to a place of rest. The condition of their hearts prevented them from entering into that place of rest, and even God’s commands turned into a burden. So without giving God access to change the condition of your heart, you too will find God’s ways of righteousness to be burdensome commandments instead of finding His path to peace and rest.
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
“You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:2-3)
If you don’t understand that God’s design is to bring you out of the “house of bondage” you run the risk of making your “labor” a god “before” Him. Is it any wonder that we find the Israelites in the wilderness constantly wanting to return to Egypt, and the “house of bondage?”
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” (Exodus 20:8-11)
The religious emphasis is how do we “keep” the commandment of “rest.” But in Hebrews we see that the people who were delivered from the toil and bondage of Egypt, never changed their hearts, and so God says: “So I swore in My wrath,
“They shall not enter My rest,” (Heb.4:3)
But the Sabbath was given to us for “rest,” and the promise of God is that: “it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience” (Heb. 4:6) Joshua did not bring the fulfillment of the promise for rest when he led Israel into the land of God’s promise. “For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” (Heb. 4:8-10)
The promise of entering into God’s rest is not by the observance of religious duty. You won’t find rest in just not working or laboring. The place of God’s rest comes when you allow Him to complete His work in your heart. The restoration of intimacy with Him is where you will find your rest. That is the true Sabbath of God’s promise. It is found in Him. That is why He calls Himself “The Lord of the Sabbath.”
God bless you.