Sabbath School Lesson for August 21-27, 2021

Overview of Lesson 9

Teresa’s YouTube channel about the lesson:

God’s rhythm of rest, as portrayed in the weekly Sabbath, gives us a vital tool in finding spiritual rest in our Creator.

  • The Sabbath causes us to reflect on His astounding creative ability to speak our world into existence. We didn’t take eons of time to get here, evolving from nothing. (Sunday)
  • One of the things God created was the Sabbath, a memorial in time,  a unique opportunity to fellowship with our Maker. (Monday)
  • The miracle of manna during Moses’ time was a reminder of God’s eternal seventh day of rest. (Tuesday)
  • In addition to reminding us of creation, the Sabbath became a symbol of our re-creation and redemption from the bondage of sin. (Wednesday)
  • Above all, Sabbath keeping makes God the center of our worship and praise, drawing us together in systematic and fulfilling ways, unlike any other day of the week. (Thursday)

Of all the things God created during the week of creation, the seventh day stands out for being the only day He blessed and made holy. He deliberately paused to reflect on the beauty of this earthly home and the couple He had just made to occupy it. Together, they would find sweet communion in a weekly rhythm of rest and renewal.

Memory Text: “Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” Genesis 2:3 NKJV

What a wondrous memorial of time that God established in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve’s first full day on earth would include walking and talking with the Creator of the universe. He was their Father, in every sense of the word. The intimate conversations that must have been a part of that day would remain with them forever, even after sin later tried to blot out all happiness from their endangered existence.

The Sabbath continues to be one of the most glorious gifts of our Father God. Let’s remember its sanctified status and try to honor God in the highest, most conscious way on the one day of the week He blessed above all for that purpose.

Sunday: Prelude to Rest (Genesis 1 and 2)

Each day of creation held its wonders and God proclaimed that they were good after each one. He established the framework which would embrace His masterpiece: man and woman. The world was full of beautiful birds, fish, and animals to thrill the couple who were entrusted with their care. Their newly-created world was not only good. It was perfect.

We see in the Genesis account how close and intimate was God’s method of creating humanity. He didn’t just speak when it came to this special couple. He bent down and tenderly shaped Adam’s form and breathed life into his nostrils. Eve’s creation was equally special, as she was taken from Adam’s rib and formed by God, while Adam napped.

This biblical creation account, given to us through Moses, is sharply different from every other creation story around the world. No where else is man elevated to the position he is given by God in Genesis. In addition, God makes it clear that the sun, moon, and stars, created on the fourth day of creation, are subject to His word and are not deities, as so many pagan religions have claimed.

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Genesis 1

  • Why do you think God saved His creation of man and woman till last?
  • What was special about their creation (Genesis 1:26)?

Genesis 2

  • What did God do on the seventh day (Genesis 2:2, 3)?
  • Why was Eve created (Genesis 2:18)?
  • What did their marriage symbolize and how would their lives be blessed together?

Monday: The Command to Rest (Exodus 20:8-11)

Although we are commanded to rest on the Sabbath, the commandment is seen and worded more as an invitation. An invitation that we must not turn down, if we want to enjoy the closest relationship with God that is possible.

Without God’s rest on the Sabbath, our creation was not complete. And without our rest on the Sabbath, our re-creation is not complete. We miss the opportunity to converse with God in the greatest way, on the day He blessed for that purpose.

Resting from our own labors on the Sabbath, just as God rested from His, is the most effective way to guard us from self-righteousness. It enables us to pause and remember who we are and what part God has in our creation and redemption. The Sabbath is indeed a token of God’s love and the power given to us through Christ.

Our worship and praise for God on the Sabbath, especially when shared with other believers, is an experience that will propel us into the kind of rest God intended from the very beginning. Eternal rest in our heavenly home, in the presence of the Lamb, who died for us to be there.

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Exodus 20:8-11

  • Why did God command us to “remember” the Sabbath? Why has man tended to forget His Sabbath so much over time?
  • Why is ceasing labor important to our Sabbath keeping?

Tuesday: New Circumstances

The exodus from Egypt was an illustration of God’s love and care for His people. Besides in the sanctuary, God’s presence was also felt through the cloud that followed them, which gave shade during the day and light and heat at night.

Their hunger was satisfied by the manna that appeared on the ground every morning, except on the seventh day. Twice as much fell on the sixth day, and they were amazed that the double portion on that day only did not spoil over the Sabbath hours. It was quite a teaching tool and helped restore their knowledge about the Sabbath, which had been all but lost after so many years in slavery.

The Ten Commandments given on Mt. Sinai included the Sabbath, tying it to the day God rested after creating the world. Many years later, when Moses’ life was almost over, he repeated their history, but added another dimension to their Sabbath observance. He pointed out that the Sabbath was also a commemoration of their freedom from bondage (Deuteronomy 5:14, 15).

The Sabbath therefore not only represents our creation, our birth. It also reminds us of the new birth, our re-creation. We, too, have freedom from the bondage of sin. As Jesus told Nicodemus, we must be born again. The Sabbath is our prescribed way to commemorate both events.

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Exodus 16:21-23, 31, 35

  • How did the gathering of the manna reinforce their observance of Sabbath rest?

Deuteronomy 5:14, 15

  • Why was this added explanation of the Sabbath given at this time?

Wednesday: Another Reason to Rest

Freeing Israel as He did, caused them to be God’s new creation. They were at last free to observe the Sabbath commandment as Moses reminded them just before they entered the promised land after forty years in the wilderness. Even the first commandment repeated to them at that time mentioned the fact that God had brought them out of the house of bondage (Deuteronomy 5:6).

Today, we rejoice on the Sabbath because of our creation and our re-creation, or new birth. Both of them point to the Messiah, Jesus Christ, God’s only Son. The first chapter of John’s Gospel is quite clear that it was God’s Son who spoke our world into existence (John 1:1-3). And John the Baptist, of course, verified the role of Jesus, as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Through Him, we are made new, a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17).

This was a new dimension to the Sabbath that God’s people were to enjoy. God used their years in captivity to reinforce in their memory that He was the God who frees us from the bondage of sin, where Satan has attempted to entrap us.

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15

  • What difference do you see in the way the fourth commandment was expressed?
  • What new dimension to Sabbath keeping was pointed out by Moses?

Thursday: Keeping the Sabbath

In order to get into the rhythm of rest provided by the Sabbath, several things should be kept in mind:

  1. Joyful delight is mentioned in connection with the Sabbath, indicating the celebratory nature that makes the day such a blessing. See Isaiah 58:13.
  2. The same verse in Isaiah is clear about who should be at the center of Sabbath. It’s not about us. God is first and foremost in all our choices in how we keep the day.
  3. Relationships, both with God and family, are the reason Sabbath was given to us. (The commandment to honor our parents immediately follows the command to keep the Sabbath. Also see Leviticus 19:3.) Fostering bonds with our Creator, in addition to our family and church community, make Sabbath the sweetest day of the week.
  4. Preparing for the Sabbath, particularly on the sixth day, called the preparation day, encourages enthusiasm for the Sabbath even before it arrives (Mark 15:42).

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Isaiah 58:13, 14

  • What principles are found here that show how the Sabbath should be kept?

Mark 15:42

  • Why is preparation so important in order to get the most out of our Sabbath observance?
  • Why is physical and spiritual preparation both important, and how do you achieve them?

Luke 4:16 and Hebrews 10:25

  • What purpose and benefit do we get from corporate worship?
  • Why do we need it even more as we near the Second Coming?

Friday: Final Thoughts

“It’s [Sabbath’s] observance in remembrance of creation was to include a joyful remembrance of deliverance from religious oppression in Egypt that made Sabbath observance difficult. In the same way, their deliverance from slavery was forever to kindle in their hearts a tender regard for the poor and oppressed, the fatherless and widows.” ~Appendix note in Ellen G. White, From Eternity Past, p. 549.

No wonder Jesus said it was proper to “do good on the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:11, 12). In addition to drawing close to God on the Sabbath by reading His word and finding Him in nature, we are drawn close to Him when we help others. After all, Jesus said when we do this, we are doing it to Him (Matthew 25:40).

What better way to make us feel close to the Father. Imitating His love and care not only draws us close to Him, but draws Him close to us. It’s a tight bond indeed, when we embrace God’s rhythm of rest on the day He provided for it.

Next Week: Sabbath Rest

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