Introduction: Think about a time when you forgot an event important
to your spouse, a family member or a friend. What was your excuse for
forgetting? My excuse is that I’m too busy, meaning that I am
focused on something else. Frankly, I hate that excuse because it
suggests that something else in my life is more important. When it
comes to the Sabbath, God has taken away that excuse. He invites us
to put away everything else and put our focus on the reason for the
Sabbath. Let’s jump into our study of the Bible and find out more
about God’s view of the Sabbath and what it means to us!

  1. Why the Sabbath?

    1. Read Genesis 2:1-3. What reason is given for the Sabbath?
      (God finished His creation work, and He rested. For that
      reason He “blessed the seventh day and made it holy.”)

    2. Read Exodus 20:8-11. What reason is given for the Sabbath?
      (The same reason given in Genesis 2.)

    3. Read Deuteronomy 5:12-15. What reason is given for the
      Sabbath? (The rescue of God’s people from slavery.)

    4. Read Exodus 31:12-13 and Ezekiel 20:12. What reason is
      given for the Sabbath? (It is a sign that God makes us

    5. We now have at least three different reasons for the
      Sabbath: celebrating Creation, celebrating the rescue from
      slavery, and celebrating our rescue from sin. Does God
      keep changing His story about the reason for the Sabbath?
      Or, is there a common thread? (The common thread is that
      in each of these things God has done something very
      important for us. They all have something to do with a
      home – the Eden home, permission to return home, and
      qualifications for our heavenly home.)

  2. The Nature of Sabbath

    1. Read 1 Samuel 7:10-12. Why did Samuel erect the Ebenezer
      stone? (To memorialize the victory over the Philistines.)

    2. Read Genesis 17:10-11. What is the reason for
      circumcision? (To memorialize the covenant between God and
      His people.)

    3. We see the kind of memorials we just read about all the
      time. Humans create stone and metal monuments to help
      remember important people or events. People write on their
      skin or on paper as a reminder of important events in the
      past. The Sabbath is much different – it is a marker in
      time. Why so you think God created a marker in time?
      (Remember in the introduction I mentioned that life
      distracts us from important things? God takes away the
      distractions of life by giving us a time period to
      celebrate Him and what He has done for us.)

      1. What do you think about the frequency of the Sabbath?
        (I don’t know what day of the week I was born,
        because I celebrate my birth only once a year. The
        same is true of my marriage. We celebrate the birth
        of my country on only one day a year. We have
        Christmas and Easter seasons once a year to celebrate
        aspects of our Lord’s life. My Black and Hispanic
        friends lay claim (in the United States) to a whole
        month to celebrate them. Groundhogs and sweethearts
        get one day each a year. God had something special in
        mind for the Sabbath.)

      2. What does the frequency of the Sabbath teach us? (It
        points to a literal creation week. God could have
        keyed the celebration to a monthly or yearly event if
        the creation account was an allegory. In addition,
        it gives us a needed rest each week.)

    4. Read Mark 2:23-26. What do you think about Jesus’ answer?

      1. When was the last time you caught your children in
        some misbehavior and they responded that other
        children misbehaved? Did you say, “I’m sorry, you are
        right. Unless we can stop all evil, we should excuse
        your bad behavior.”

        1. Is our Lord making such an argument? (Unlikely.
          Jesus seems to be saying that in every
          situation you have to remember the big picture.
          Yes, regular people were not normally allowed
          to eat temple bread. But, providing food for
          humans is more important than the normal temple

      2. Were the disciples, like David, in some sort of
        emergency situation? (No. They were snacking.)

      3. If I were Jesus’ advisor, I would have suggested that
        He respond to the Pharisees, “What, are you nuts?
        Grabbing a few grains is not harvesting. They are not
        working.” That seems to be the obvious answer. What
        does the fact that Jesus did not give the obvious
        answer tell us? (It tells us that He wanted to make a
        specific point about the Sabbath, as opposed to
        disputing the facts.)

    5. Read Mark 2:27-28. What point (or points) is Jesus making?
      (Human need (here snacking) comes before the Sabbath.
      Jesus’ second point is that He gets to make this judgment
      because He is Lord of the Sabbath.)

    6. Read Mark 3:1-4. Is this a difficult question to answer?

    7. Read Mark 3:5-6. What is the hypocrisy here? (On Sabbath
      Jesus was healing, while His Sabbath critics were plotting

    8. These two stories are next to each other in the Bible.
      What point is God making to us in these stories? Do these
      stories suggest that the Sabbath is unimportant? (These
      stories show the importance of the Sabbath. The Bible has
      limited space, and God thought the Sabbath so important
      that He would show how to properly regard the Sabbath.)

  3. Sabbath Attacks

    1. Read 2 Peter 3:3-4. What is a sign of the “last days?”
      (Attacks on God based on the failure of the Second Coming
      to take place.)

    2. Read 2 Peter 3:5-7. What is wrong with the argument of the
      attackers? (They forget that God brought judgment on the
      world in the flood. They forget that God is the Creator.)

      1. How is the Sabbath an antidote to this kind of
        argument? (It is a weekly reminder of God’s power as
        our Creator and Redeemer.)

    3. Read Revelation 14:6-7. What is God’s message for the end
      times? (Give glory to God because the time of judgment has

      1. What is the basis for God’s claim to our worship?
        (His Creation.)

    4. Consider this a moment. If God’s argument in support of
      His final judgment is His power as demonstrated in the
      Creation and the Flood, how important is the Sabbath? (It
      is in the middle of the battle. It is the reminder of the
      very thing that God claims as His authority for the final

      1. Can you understand why Satan would make it a high
        priority to erase the importance of the Sabbath?

    5. In Hebrews chapter 3 the Bible warns us not to be like the
      Israelites who failed to enter into the promised land
      after their exit from Egypt. It calls the promised land
      “enter[ing]” into “His rest.” ( Hebrews 3:18.) With that
      background, read Hebrews 4:1-5. To what is the Sabbath
      compared? (Entering into the promised land after the
      hardships of the journey from Egypt.)

      1. Focus again on Hebrews 4:1-2. To what else is the
        Sabbath compared? (Salvation by grace alone. Recall
        that Exodus 31:13 and Ezekiel 20:12 predicted that
        the Sabbath would memorialize Jesus making us holy.)

    6. Read Hebrews 4:6-10. What Sabbath rest should we enter
      into that is much more important than God’s people
      entering the promised land? (Rest from the our efforts to
      save ourselves by our own works! The Sabbath also
      memorializes salvation by grace alone.)

      1. The most recent attack on Sabbath worship, comes from
        a group who claims the texts we just read mean that
        we have now entered the “Sabbath rest” portion of
        history. Therefore, we no longer need to worship on
        Sabbath. Does that make any logical sense? (No! The
        Sabbath is a memorial. It is a marker. You no longer
        have a marker if it becomes the age in which you

    7. Read Hebrews 10:23-25. Does the writer of Hebrews suggest
      that observing the weekly Sabbath is no longer needed?
      (No! He says “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess!”
      That hope is grace in the face of judgment, that hope is
      the Second Coming. As we saw earlier, Sabbath observance
      is weekly reminder of the basis for our hope!)

    8. Friend, God designated the seventh day as His Sabbath.
      This memorial in time has never been changed, or eclipsed
      by time. In the last days, its importance is as strong as
      ever. The Sabbath is under attack by Satan because it is
      the weekly reminder of our hope and trust in our Creator
      and our Redeemer. If you have not been serious about
      observing the Sabbath, will you commit to it now?

  4. Next week: Creation and the Gospel.