Exo. 31:13 …You shall surely keep My Sabbaths; for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am Jehovah who sanctifies you.
17 It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.
After God gave the revelation concerning the tabernacle and the furniture, and after God selected the builders and gave Moses a charge regarding them, He went on [in Exodus 31:12-17] to speak again of the Sabbath. It seems as if God were saying, “Do not forget My Sabbath….Even in doing My divine work, the work of building the tabernacle, you must still bear a sign to indicate that you are My people and you need Me. Therefore you need to enjoy Me first. Then you will be able to work not only for Me, but also with Me and by being one with Me. I will be your strength to work and your energy to labor. But if you work in yourself and by yourself, that will be an insult to Me. You must do the work of building My dwelling place with Me, by Me, and in oneness with Me. I shall be very happy if you work in this way….You are My people, and you should bear a sign that you need Me to be your enjoyment, strength, and energy. You need Me to be your everything so that you may be able to work for Me. By working in this way you honor Me and glorify Me. This is to bear a sign indicating that you are My people.” (Life-study of Exodus, pp. 1826-1827)
We all need to learn a basic lesson regarding the Sabbath….The Sabbath means that before we work for God, we need to enjoy God and be filled with Him. If we have enjoyed God and if we have been filled with God, then we are ready to work for Him. Such work will not be by ourselves; it will be by God….On the day of Pentecost…Peter stood up to preach the gospel…by the infilling God, by the infilling Spirit. Therefore, Peter had a sign that he was God’s co-worker, and his gospel preaching was an honor and glory to God.
The people of the world all work by themselves. They do not have a sign on them that indicates that they belong to God. They do not enjoy God, they do not rest with God, and they do not work with God. Our situation is altogether different because we have a sign. What is the sign we bear? The sign is that we rest with God, enjoy God, and are filled up with God first, and then we work with the very One who fills us. Furthermore, we not only work with God, but we work as those who are one with God.
I can testify that every time I stand up to minister the Word, my unique prayer is that I would be one with the Lord in my speaking. I pray repeatedly, “Lord, in my speaking I want to practice being one spirit with You so that my speaking will be Your speaking. Lord, it must be that You speak in my speaking. If You are not one with me, I will not speak anything. I would never speak in my empty self. That would be a blasphemy to You, an insult to You. Lord, I would speak not only with You, but also by being one with You….” If we would speak this way, what an honor and glory it would be to the Lord! This is the sign of the Sabbath. In my speaking I always seek to bear a sign that my Lord is my Sabbath. He is my rest, my refreshment, my energy, my strength, and my everything for ministering the Word.
In the church life we may do many things without first enjoying the Lord, and without serving with the Lord and by being one with the Lord. That kind of service results in the suffering of spiritual death. Any service to the church that is without the enjoyment of the Lord and that is without the oneness with Him brings in spiritual death. Whenever we serve in that way, we cut ourselves off from the fellowship in the Body. (Life-study of Exodus, pp. 1827-1828, 1830)
Further Reading: Life-study of Jeremiah, msg. 17