Can you think of a time when someone gave you great advice, but you didn’t take it? Today we’re looking at what the Bible says about rest and God’s advice on rest and how He has a plan for you to rest. You may think of God’s advice as rules, restrictions and regulations. I challenge you to shift your perspective to look at God’s advice as gifts. These are gifts from a God who loves you and wants to offer you the best life you could possibly have.
What Does God Say About Rest
In Genesis, God created the world, and everything in it was perfect. God rested on the seventh day. He blessed the seventh day and made it holy. Then the Lord took man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. In Hebrew, “put him in” actually means rested him. So, in God’s perfect design, He rested man in the garden to work. This was when everything was perfect and there was no sin. Enter the serpent and, before long, everything gets out of whack. Adam and Eve get sent out of the garden and out of God’s presence. Work gets hard. But, God always had a plan to restore us to the rest that Adam and Eve got in the garden.
Many years after Adam and Eve messed up, God’s people were enslaved in Egypt. Remember the story where God sent Moses to get them out of Egypt? So, He rescues them out of Egypt, and they’re in the wilderness. Do you remember how He fed them? He dropped bread from heaven, and they could only pick up enough for each day. Except on the sixth day, bread could be picked up for two days because on the seventh day the bread didn’t come down. On the seventh day, God’s people were supposed to rest.
God gave people the 10 commandments, one of which is to remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it, you shall not do any work, neither you nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
When Is The Last Time You Let God Have Your Full Attention
It’s easy to miss the point of the Sabbath, and we’re not the only people who missed the point of it. Luke tells us the story:
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:38-42
Martha dismissed the idea of rest and the value of being at the foot of Jesus. She didn’t give God her full attention.
3 Steps To Taking A Sabbath
- Change your brain about it. Rest is a gift, not an oppression. Why do you resist rest? It may be because you like to accomplish things, and you like people to tell you that you’re good at accomplishing those things. It’s all about ego and need for affirmation. You may think you don’t need it and what you got going is working. Or maybe you try to reason it this way…”I’ll take a couple of hours here and there, but I don’t need to take a full Sabbath.” Or maybe you think if you take a vacation and average it out that it all works out. God wants you to live life and live it to the full, and His advice is to take a full day of rest. When is the last time that you took God’s advice, and it steered you wrong?
- Plan for it. You plan for the important things in your life, right? Make it a priority and put it on your schedule. Rest is delighting in who God created you to be, something that fills your soul, puts you in the presence of God and reminds you that you were created for good. This can look different for each person. If you work all week with your brain, then you need to rest your brain on the Sabbath. If you work all week with your body, then you need to rest your body on the Sabbath. Some people may need to wake up and not know what they are going to do for the day – a total open schedule. Maybe it’s eating with friends, playing a game, reading or biking. The important thing is to figure out what Sabbath looks like for you and plan for it.
- Remove something. If you’re going to have Sabbath in your life, you’ll have to take something out to free up space. It’s time to lighten the load, so you have space for time with God.
The Sabbath is a gift from God. It’s for you. Take it.