Exodus 20:8-11 – Remember the Sabbath Day

Walking Through Exodus

Devotions - Week 11

Key Texts:  Exodus 20:8-11, Luke 10:38-42, Mark 2:27
The fourth commandment is often treated as if it’s the least important. This is not surprising when you remember that other contenders cover murder and adultery! But on Sunday we considered how learning to build sabbath rhythms into our week actually gets to the very heart of what it means to live Christ centred lives.

To approach things from a slightly different angle let’s look at Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42. I’ve often felt sorry for Martha who Jesus gently rebukes when she is simply working hard to provide for her guests. What is it that Jesus commends so warmly in her sister Mary? Simply that she knows when to STOP! There may be many things that still need doing, but she knows that in this moment she needs pause, to focus her full attention on Jesus in a way that both honours him and replenishes her.

I think that essentially that it what it means to sabbath. To build into our lives rhythms that involve stopping, taking a breath, noticing, appreciating all that Jesus has done for us and getting our bearings again as we centre our lives afresh on him. No generation needs reminding of this more than ours with its electronically illuminated, digitally enhanced, 24/7  cycle of relentless activity that is in danger of squeezing the life out of our very souls.

Shift work, studies and raising a young family have presented different challenges along the way but I am convinced of the wisdom of ensuring that one day in the week is different from all the others even if it carries a financial cost. A well kept sabbath will look different for each of us but I would suggest common elements would include Refection (individual and corporate worship), Relationships, Recreation and Rest.

In Mark 2:27 Jesus taught that rather than being a harsh restriction, the call to sabbath rest is a loving gift from our Father in Heaven and an opportunity for us to make him Lord, not just of the sabbath, but of every other day too.  


  1. Can you think of a rest day activity that you find relaxing and fulfilling but that others might consider work? For example; gardening, baking, carpentry, exercise, entertaining, study for the fun of it?

  2. Look at Mark 2:27. In what ways do you feel that a sabbath day is a gift from God? What does it mean to make Jesus Lord even of the Sabbath?

  3. “Sabbath” means to STOP, take a breath, get your bearings, centre your life again on God. Do you feel that that you have healthy rhythms in place each week that allow you to do this? If not, what can you do as a first step towards establishing them?


As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. (Psalm 103:13-14)

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your compassion towards me and for the gift of sabbath rest. Help me to honour you in the pattern of my life. You are Lord of my sabbaths, you are Lord of my life.  

This Everyday Devotion was written by David Featherstone who, together with his wife Amanda, leads our Sutton Venue.

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