In this fast paced world, it important to be reminded that we all need rest – both for our souls and our bodies. As you can see in the passage below, God’s plan for resting for Israel included keeping the Sabbath. Tragically, in our modern world, taking a day off for worship and rest is not high on the priority list for a lot of folks. With that in mind, here are three suggestions to help you better understand and see the importance of biblical rest for your life.
They include: (1) Biblical rest should never be seen as laziness; (2) Biblical rest should not be seen as inactivity; and (3) Biblical rest is a gift and not a hardship.
Exodus 31:12-14 (ESV)
12 And the Lord said to Moses, 13 “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. 14 You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. 16 Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. 17 It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’” 18 And he gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.
In the passage above, God commands Israel to keep the Sabbath as a holy day of rest and celebration. Although as believers we are no longer under the Old Testament law that does not mean keeping the Sabbath is unimportant. In fact, there is still much discussion about the nature of the Sabbath and biblical rest in the New Testament among biblical scholars today. Nevertheless, I would like to give several thoughts concerning this issue to encourage to seek much needed rest.
First, biblical rest should never be seen as laziness.
We live in a society that praises the workaholic and the tendency is to consider a person lazy if they take a day off. God is very clear, in six days He made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed (Ex. 31:17). Now, certainly God did not have to rest, but He modeled for us a way of life that honors Him and benefits us. So when a person does not take time for biblical rest, he is living contrary to God’s design, which is not wise and can be unhealthy.
Second, biblical rest is not inactivity.
When God gave the Sabbath he had a purpose in mind. He wanted His people to reflect and remember that He alone is the One who provides (Ex 31:13). Without God, nothing is possible. So, taking time away from work not only gives your body and opportunity to rest, but it also gives you the opportunity to actively remember and honor the Lord for His provisions.
Third, biblical rest is a gift not a hardship.
There are so many recreational sports that conduct their activities on Sundays that many believers are made to feel bad if their children can’t make it to the game. Secular organizations see Sunday worship as a hardship and a hindrance to their objectives. Christians must help our society remember that having a day of biblical rest is a precious gift that must be treasured and not neglected for something less meaningful. What can you do to help the next generation embrace the beauty of biblical rest?