What is Sabbath rest?

We hear a lot about the Sabbath and what it really means. First let’s see how God rested… In Genesis 1 and 2, notice an interesting progression – If God had created man in the middle of the week there would not have been enough supply for him. So man is created on the 6th day and then God rested on the 7th. So in a sense Adam went right into God’s rest, and the rest that God took, was forever. Everything Adam would ever need was done being made before he came along…just that thought has really made me think a lot! Every living thing was given the power to multiply. I mean, that in truth means, that every one of my needs has already been met. God anticipated them all and saw to it back then, to make everything I would ever need. Like a huge storehouse of things to meet our needs. No wonder it says that our needs are met ACCORDING to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Then God blessed the7th day and sanctified it. No other day has that ‘setting apart’-ness with it. God desires us to enter into His rest…more on that from Hebrews 4.

He was not tired, but done with what He set out to do. Sort of like when I am done with a painting I sign it and frame it. That doesn’t mean I sit back and do nothing from then on, but just that the painting is now done. When Adam and Eve sinned, God made known His plan to save them. The woman’s ‘seed’ = Christ, would bruise the head of the serpent. Revelation 13:8 says that the Lamb was slain from before the foundation of the world. Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished” = the work He came to do FOR us was done. I think it was done as Revelation says, before the world was created. I think it was done in heaven, and like the Lord’s Prayer, what was done in heaven was now done on earth on the cross. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Then after Exodus, in one of the 10 Commandments we find God wanting Israel to rest one day out of 7. I am thinking that went totally against the thought of the day. How can one take one day off work and still make it in life? God wanted to show the nations in providing for Israel, that they could trust God to provide and take care of them without their own efforts. Like this: “See how I- the one true God – take care of my children!”

If you read Leviticus 25, you’ll see that God wanted the land to rest for one yr out of 7. God made them have such a harvest the 6th yr to cover the 7th yr off and the 8th yr as they would have to replant the land and wait for harvest. Wow! I see the principle set by God, that when we take one day out of 7 off, it’s to show that we trust in Him to provide. He is our only source. Not that He is one of our many sources, but resting shows that we are trusting in what He can do over what we can do. Does that make sense? It goes against the grain of our culture though, even one like ours so bent on entertainment, vacations, etc. People are still not restful even on holiday, but it’s because God gives rest. Sure it’s good to rest physically, but if we aren’t seeking God for our provision, than it’s sort of wasted rest, if you know what I mean?

Hebrews 4 is a great chapter on entering into God’s rest. God refers to Israel wandering in the wilderness 40 yrs due to unbelief. Israel was given the land freely…God even said he’d take care of the giants for them! They just had to go in and take it. However, they could not because they saw only the giants and therefore couldn’t believe His promise to provide. We all suffer from the mentality that if it’s free it can’t be worth much, or that there is a huge catch! They could not enter into the land that God had already provided for them. The writer of Hebrews is making the case that we also need to enter God’s rest.  Verse 10 says, “For the one who has entered God’s rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from his.”

That makes me think of Matthew 11, were Jesus said, “Come to Me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Those burdened down with religious ceremony and doing things to please God or to get him to do something, are who Jesus is talking about. Back to Hebrews 4:1 – there is an encouragement by the writer not to miss out on what God’s rest holds for us. Each of us is unique and different in how we might stop our working and enter into God’s rest. If everything has been completed and finished, then really all that’s there for me to do is lean on what has already been done. I am finding that process to be a prayerful and inquisitive one.

Jesus was very active on the Sabbath and was about his Father’s business. Everything He did to minister to us, gave Him energy and life. His rest is worth looking at. He took lots of time to reconnect with the Father so His resting time was both physically and spiritually, and did not come on the day Israel took off from work. Yet Jesus seemed pleased to heal more on the Sabbath then on other days. Perhaps a principle here that when we rest it opens the door for God to work more visibly on our behalf. What do you think?

I am realizing that there have been times when I ignorantly have made prayer a work because perhaps I believe that by praying I can get God to do something, like almost twist His arm. It is a very subtle deception for us as believers. But if I realize that my need is already met, even if I don’t see the evidence of it yet, then even my prayers might begin to reflect rest and not work. Does that make sense? I am really rethinking some of how I pray in light of Hebrews 4.

In essence, Jesus “is’ The Sabbath rest. It’s only in His finished work that rest is even possible. When you find yourself “trying” to make something happen, that’s the time to take a step back and allow Him to do what you could never do by your own efforts = entering into His rest.

These are just some of my thoughts on rest and the Sabbath. I picked up a lot of the content over time. As you can tell it is not exhaustive, and perhaps my thoughts are a bit random. I hope it’s made you think about what rest is to your walk with the Lord!





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