Exodus 31:12-18

Key Verse(s):

Exodus 31:12–13 (HCSB)

12 The Lord said to Moses: 13 “Tell the Israelites: You must observe My Sabbaths, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, so that you will know that I am Yahweh who sets you apart.


The construction of the tabernacle, and all that goes along with it, culminates with the command to keep the Sabbath. There are a number of creation – Sabbath parallels here: the creation of the tabernacle, the creation of Israel as a nation, and the establishment of God’s people. It seems appropriate to wrap it up with a return to the Sabbath.

The Sabbath is not a day for God, it is a day for man. Exodus 31:13 clearly says it us for us to know God, not for God to be enlightened about something. And it is obviously intended to bring us closer, into a better understanding of, God. The day is not dedicated to us, or anything we might be tempted to focus on other than God, but it is to be dedicated to God (Exodus 31:15).

And isn’t it interesting that the Sabbath days, not as in multiple Sabbaths on a variety of days, but the continual, week after week, collection of Sabbath days, are God’s? Exodus 31:13 says, “You must observe My Sabbaths.” Again, the focus here is not for us to glorify ourselves, our creations, and our feats, but to return our focus on God, and be rejuvenated and refreshed to return into the world that tempts us at all turns.

And finally, when God recaps how He created existence, He says he “rested and was refreshed.” Certainly God does not need rest nor refreshing. It seems to me this is God modelling for us. Did He have to have that seventh day of rest? Not for Himself, but He knew we needed it. He knew we needed the break, the chance to re-center ourselves and our focus. We cheat ourselves when we fail to honor His design.

And then Moses receives the two stone tablets, written upon by God’s own finger. There is a sort of symbolism here I think, everlasting covenants written in stone, by God’s own hand. There is a permanency of sorts, and enduring quality about it. And again, it is not of man, from man: it is of God, from God, for man.


Lord, thank You for building in a system to provide rest for us, to help us to refocus and re-center upon You. I pray that we would not ignore, or even worse, abuse, this gift. But instead, help us to enjoy it, thrive in it, and grow through it, all the while glorifying You. Amen.


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