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Exodus 31 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Sabbath

12 And the Lord said to Moses, 13 “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. 14 You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. 16 Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. 17 It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’”

18 And he gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.



  • God chose workers to build the tabernacle. Once again, He reminded the Israelites to keep the Sabbath whether they are working for the sacred work or others.
  • “Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths” (v13). This command was strategically placed – at the very end of all the commands to build the tabernacle. Though God gave Israel a work to do in building the tabernacle He did not want them to do that work on the Sabbath. God’s rest still had to be respected.
  • Is the Sabbath for Christians? The passage states that the Sabbath is a sign of God’s covenant with Israel. On the other hand, Christians from the beginning have met on Sunday, not Sabbath – the seventh day of the week. While the Sabbath commemorates creation (v17), the first day of the week commemorates Jesus’ resurrection (Matt 28:1, Acts 20:7). What links the two is that each serves as a weekly reminder to believers of their personal relationship with God.
  • If we are going to live appropriately in the world, we must keep the Sabbath. We must stop running around long enough to see what God has done and is doing.  We must shut up long enough to hear what He has said and is saying.  Without silence and stillness, there is no spirituality.
  • Pastors and congregational leaders commonly cram the Lord’s Day with work: committee meetings, congregational meetings, projects, mission events, and social activities. But talking and doing displace Sabbath quietness and stillness.  All of this activity is very well intentioned but nevertheless all very wrong.  How might we re-organize our lives and priorities in order that we might actually practice Sabbath-living?



Recall last Sunday.  How did you spend it?  Did you enjoy the rest and time with God?  Enjoy a few moments of silence with God knowing that God is enjoying it, too.