Lesson Five



Memory Verse: Exodus 20:8-10
Further Study: Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:8-11; Isaiah 58:13, 14; 66:22, 23; Patriarchs and Prophets 47, 48; 111-116; The Bible Story, vol. 1, pp. 57-60

I sometimes think about what it would be like if I were not a Sabbath-keeper. I shudder at the thought. My days are full morning to night. Having an “off switch,” is a necessity. When Sabbath comes around especially if it has been a stressful week, the laundry can mock, the clutter can taunt, but I am not guilted into action for I have an excuse: I am resting. Is that what Sabbath is? Perhaps.

I once had the opportunity to visit Michelangelo’s statue of “David” in Florence, Italy. I lingered by the sculpture for some time simply savoring its magnificence. Is that what God did on that first Sabbath of Creation? Is it what He expects me to do? Perhaps.

I lingered by the sculpture for some time simply savoring its magnificence. Is that what God did on that first Sabbath of Creation?

Adam and Eve labored in Eden tending the garden. Work for them, though, is a relative term since sin had yet to enter their world. Imagine tending a garden in a perfect climate with no bugs, sweat, thorns, or rocks to impede your toil. Why would the first humans need rest?

Ellen White writes, “God saw that a Sabbath was essential for man, even in Paradise. He needed to lay aside his own interests and pursuits for one day of the seven, that he might more fully contemplate the works of God and meditate upon His power and goodness. He needed a Sabbath to remind him more vividly of God and to awaken gratitude because all that he enjoyed and possessed came from the beneficent hand of the Creator” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 48).

Ah, now we understand. While Sabbath may be a time to stop our work, a time to discover the joys of nature, God’s real intention, even in Eden, was about contemplating God, and more specifically “to awaken gratitude.”

God’s real intention, even in Eden, was about contemplating God, and more specifically “to awaken gratitude.”

If honest, we will reluctantly admit that the busyness of life is completely absorbing and totally distracting. We can have days when we hit the ground running from our beds and run nonstop until we crawl back into it at the end of the day. When that happens, it isn’t that we are ungrateful, but we are just too busy to stop long enough to linger, to pause, to do what I did in Florence by the sculpture. We need to stop long enough to be grateful for what God has done for us.

This Sabbath, make time to remember. Make time to ponder. Make time to think vividly of God. And as you awaken gratitude toward Him, you will be renewed.

Digging Deeper 

We automatically think of rest associated with Sabbath as the absence of labor. We find things to do together on the Sabbath, because work and school no longer divide us. But one important element is sometimes overlooked—worship. Consider this interesting meaning of Sabbath shared to me by a pastor friend:

  • Shabbath = man and woman
  • Shabbath = Shebet, which means dwell together
  • Shabbath = Beth, which means house
  • Shabbath = Father (Abba)

Put it all together: Sabbath is a day when man and woman dwell together in the house of the Father.

Making it Real

In the past four weeks, through our children’s lessons and weekly devotions, we’ve learned about praise, love, power, and gratitude. Find ways to incorporate these into your Sabbath:

  1. Praise: Sing hymns for family worship that particularly bring smiles to the faces of your family.
  2. Love: On your own or with your family, write a love note to God. Then create a special card with a message of love, and mail it this week to someone.
  3. Power: It’s time to find God in nature. If you can go outside for a walk in the woods or by the ocean, do so. If not, find a video of waterfalls or the Grand Canyon or something really amazing and powerful in nature.
  4. Gratitude: Attend a worship service today. If you can, meet with like-minded believers in person. As you sing, pray, and listen to the Word, do so with a grateful heart.

Respond & Share

God has given us such a special gift in the Sabbath. What special things do you do to make the Sabbath special? Share your thoughts below.


Merle Poirier writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she works as the operation manager for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines as well as the designer for KidsView, a magazine for 8-12-year-olds. She enjoys spending time with her family including being the grandmother of two active little boys, who greatly enjoy Starting With Jesus.


Coming next week:

Based on John 3:16, Genesis 2:8-17; 3;
PP 52-62; SR 24-41; BS, vol. 1, pp. 61-72


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