Posts Tagged ‘Sabbath Rest’

Rest …

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing;
so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.
Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy,

because on it he rested from all the work of creating.”
Genesis 2:2-3

What is rest? And, specifically, what is Sabbath rest? Did God choose a day of rest because he was tired from creating the world? Is a Sabbath rest still a part of the New Covenant?

When God had finished creating the world, and all in it, He set aside a day in which “he rested.” Why did He rest? Was God fatigued?

Isaiah (40:28) would indicate that is not so; “the Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired.”

So if God was not tired, rest, in this passage has a different meaning that we might first think. The Hebrew word used actually means to cease, to stop doing, to complete. This makes far more sense! Creator God had just finished the creation of the world and all in, under and on it. The world, as we know it, was completed, God had no more to add to it, it was done, and he ceased, rested.

After a month of school each weekday, laundry and taxi-driving kids each Saturday, church and football each Sunday, today is a day of rest for me. There is nothing that I have to do, there is no place that I have to go. It is a day of no expectations! It is a day full of possibilities! I could take my beast for a walk on the trail. I could sit and write a weeks worth of blog posts, I could read from the book that has been feeding my soul lately, I could play a game with the kids, I could make cookies, I could, I could, I could.

I struggle with understanding Sabbath rest. In the Christian life in which I live, the Sabbath is Sunday, a day to do something different, focus on God, spend time in His word, worship with other believers. But, I have to say, it is often void of rest; my definition (a day of no expectations), or the one above from Genesis (to cease). Since hubby works on the Sabbath, it is a day of many expectations, and because of my high energy in starting projects … and low energy in completing them, there is rarely a ceasing or completing.

In the New Testament (Matthew 11:28-30), Jesus speaks of rest, “come to me all who labor and are burdened and I will find rest for you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am humble and gentle of spirit, you will find peace for your heart. For my yoke is pleasant and light is my burden.”

Although Jesus is not speaking of Sabbath rest directly, I think there could be a hint of it in his promise. He is speaking of the rest that he can provide if we are under the yoke that binds us together. The yoke binds us to him, allowing for us to be connected to him, dependent on his leading (the meaning of rest in this passage).

Maybe, if we allow ourselves to be yoked to Jesus, the rest that we so desire will be available to us … all week long.



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Last weekend I had a glimpse of simplicity, of relaxation, of down-time. And what flowed out of me in the quiet of the unhindered hours of that Saturday morning was far more creativity than I had experienced in a very, very long time.

It has made me think about how I live my life, and how I encourage and allow my children to live their lives. But, more specifically, how we construct our days, our weeks. What we fill our hours with. What we ‘do’. And what we consider to be relaxation, simplicity and down-time.

Although not just in the context of Christian living (but certainly, to a large degree, a huge factor in the Christian community), Christians tend to live as though we are fearful of uncommitted time. As though down time is, in itself, a sin. As though every moment of every day needs to be filled to the brim doing … ‘stuff’. But, I just do not believe it!

When my brain is empty of immediate pressures, commitments, and expectations … it is then that my heart and my soul are able to play a greater role. It is then that I can create. It is then that I can love better, plan better … live … better.

Today I was reading Genesis 1 and 2 to a young girl from China. Her English was limited, and her Biblical familiarity lacking. So, as I read the story to her, I explained each of the six days of creation.

And then we came to day seven … and Godrested

Well, if that is not enough encouragement for us to take a break once in a while (maybe once a week? … just sayin’) I cannot imagine better!

But, you know what else I realized … God had probably been resting before he started the process of creating. And look what he was able to pull off having had a rest!

Now, I am not legalistic when it comes to sabbath rest … heck, for my hubby, who is a pastor, Sunday is NOT a day of rest. I am okay with grocery shopping, working, and playing cards (something my poor grandmother used to feel guilty doing on a Sunday) … if doing those things, on a Sunday, allow for Sabbath rest at another time in the week. But, I do believe that if the God who put the heavens and the earth together (in whatever form He chose to do it in) chose to rest one day out of seven, then we, mere mortals, could probably benefit too.

Try it! Try taking a day (for some, start small … just take half of a day … ) and enjoying Sabbath rest. Do things that make you smile, do things that allow you to stop and smell the roses, do things that fill your energy cup, do things that make your creative juices bubble, do … nothing.

See if taking a selfish break, from that endless ‘To Do’ list, makes you better at what you do the next day.

 “he blessed the seventh day and made it holy,

because on it he rested

from all the work

of creating

that he had done.”

Genesis 2:2-3

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