The biblical and symbolic meaning of the Sabbath is interesting to note. What is not generally known (even in the First Century!) was that the Sabbath was given as a day of celebration! God commands us to relax and party and enjoy Him and revel in His bounty by consuming our goods in His sight, as described in the definition of the "tithe" in Deut 14:22 -29.
The Jews had turned it into "religion", for which Jesus never missed a chance to pinion.
Mark 2:27 (NAS) "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath."If you think about the Sabbath as an ongoing practice for the Jews, you can see that this commanded enjoyment of the Lord and rest from labor was also mortifying to the flesh. Put yourself in the situation back then: the Jews are in COMPETITION (just like us today... but with the stakes much higher). And here is the score: the Philistines have metal forging, the Jews do not; They have swords, the Jews don't; They have fortified cities, the Jews have tents. And this is no academic matter; with this dramatic technological advantage they mean to KILL US. How are we going to compete and win if we have to take a whole day off each week to enjoy our God?
Well, during that day we can consider from where our real strength comes.
Zec 4:6 (NIV) "Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit," says the Lord Almighty.So the Sabbath falls into the general category of the ceremonial law which mortified the flesh. For another example of this kind of thing, consider that if you are always offering up your best and most unblemished stock... unless a miracle happens, the quality of your herds is going to go down fast. And yet, if we trust in the Lord, somehow it all works out.
The Sabbath is a weekly reminder that we will not prosper in our own strength or solely due to our own effort or ambition. God says... stop and think about this with me; let us reason together about the source of your blessings.