God is teaching His people the importance of rest. God Himself rested, and this is a model for us to follow. The Israelites had just come out of slavery – where they had no rest. Now God is trying to show them a new way of living, a new way of experiencing time and work. In the desert, God Himself gives them extra food that will last 2 days. In the Promised Land, they will have to do more work on the other 6 days so they can have a day of rest on the 7th. This is not about God wanting to overwork His people, but about having less, being content, and planning on resting – these are huge lessons, and God is starting slow with His liberated people.
I have found that whenever I neglect my rest, neglect my day off, I end up paying for it, and those around me suffer from my ill temper and mood. I love my job, love serving in ministry, but I need time every week to remember that I am not just a pastor, I am a child of God, a husband, a father. I love time with God, to read, exercise, have fun, play with my family and talk with my wife. These are the things that are life-giving to me, and they fuel my days of work. So often I have forgotten this day off, in a desire to work hard and serve God more. Much like the Israelites I still go out to gather food when God has provided all that I need. Thank you God for the Sabbath!