Jer. 17:21-22 …Take heed to your souls and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring anything through the gates of Jerusalem. And do not bring out any burden from your houses on the Sabbath day, nor do any work; but sanctify the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.
Exo. 31:17 …On the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.
In Jeremiah 17:19-27 we have Jehovah’s warning concerning the keeping of His Sabbath….If the present inhabitants listened to Jehovah and sanctified the Sabbath day,…the city would be inhabited forever (vv. 24-25). However, if they did not listen to Jehovah and sanctify the Sabbath day, then He would kindle a fire in the gates of the city, and the fire would devour the palaces of Jerusalem and not be extinguished (v. 27).
The Sabbath signifies that God has done everything, completed everything, and prepared everything and that man must stop all his work….To work on the Sabbath is an insult to God and to what He has accomplished. Instead of working in such a way, we should take in God as our enjoyment, drinking of Him as the fountain of living waters. To sanctify God’s Sabbath is to stop our work and to take what God has done for us.
The New Testament also is mainly of these two aspects: to receive God as the living water for our enjoyment (John 4:14; 7:38) and to stop our work. God has accomplished everything, and He is ready for us to enter into His eternal enjoyment in the New Jerusalem. In the New Jerusalem we will not work; we will only drink, praise, enjoy, and rejoice. This is God’s economy. (Life-study of Jeremiah, pp. 113-114)
The fact that [the] insertion [of Exodus 31:12-17] concerning the Sabbath follows the charge for the building work of the tabernacle indicates that the Lord was telling these builders, these workers, to learn how to rest with Him….If we only know how to work for the Lord but do not know how to rest with Him, we are acting contrary to the divine principle.
It is a divine principle that God does not ask us to work until we have had enjoyment….If we do not know how to have enjoyment with God and how to enjoy God Himself, we shall not know how to work with Him. We shall not know how to be one with God in His divine work.
We do emphasize the matter of working with God and not working for God by our own strength. Yes, we should work with God and even by God. But …it is not even sufficient merely to work with God. We need to be one with God in His work. This requires that we enjoy Him. If we do not know how to enjoy God and be filled with God, we shall not know how to work with Him, how to be one with Him in His work.
A very good illustration of this principle is found in the New Testament…on the day of Pentecost….The Lord had told them to wait until the Spirit came upon them to fill them. With what were the disciples filled when they were filled with the Spirit? No doubt, they were filled with the enjoyment of the Lord. Because they were filled with the Spirit, others thought that they were drunk with wine. Actually they were filled with the enjoyment of the heavenly wine. Only after they had been filled with this enjoyment did they begin to work with God. This is the way to work with God, the way to work in oneness with Him. When Peter stood up with the apostles to preach the gospel and thereby do a work for God, they all were one with God in His work.
Perhaps after enjoying rest with God on his first day, Adam worked to care for the garden for another six days. Then on what was his eighth day, another first day, he again rested with God. This is a cycle that would continue again and again with intervals of resting and working. With God it is a matter of working and resting; with man, a matter of resting and working. (Life-study of Exodus, pp. 1821-1822, 1824-1826)
Further Reading: Life-study of Exodus, msg. 172