Last night, I came home after a twelve-hour day of work; my day continued as I spent time with my son and his friend. While I had a good day; I was exhausted! Finally going to bed at 11:30, I felt my eyes and body fall asleep before my head even hit the pillow! I am reminded this morning that God created rest and it was good! I am also reminded that if we do not physically rest, our body is in danger of total shut down. Just as our body needs rest, our soul needs the Spirit of God. If a spiritual rest is ignored over time, our relationship with God will also collapse and before we even realize it, we will descend into a world of sin.
God gave Adam (the first man created) three things to do and one thing to not do…
- rule over the creation,
- be fruitful and increase in number,
- know only the good that God had provided and
- don’t eat the fruit from the tree of good and evil.
So simple! Oh, how humans complicate everything! Amen?
To remain in the good required faith and obedience in God’s sovereignty – products of a Sabbath rest. If Adam and Eve obeyed and trusted God’s authority, they could sleep, rest and live in the peaceful place of good. No evil would touch their minds and cause them to struggle with worries, nightmares, and unease. Likewise, if we choose to think only on the good of life, rely on God’s sovereignty, and live within His boundaries of rest, we can also sleep without worries, nightmares and unease – we can experience a Sabbath rest.
Many of us know the end of Adam and Eve’s story. They did eat from this tree that held all knowledge of good and evil. They brought upon themselves death – separated from only knowing good. Now they knew sin and the shame that went with it. They knew toil, hardship and trials. Their life marked a struggle to fight for the good they once enjoyed. Their choice to eat this fruit did not make them wise, it made them hard. Knowing evil has a way of doing that to people. And we are the “lucky” beneficiaries of their decision. But wait, there is hope. While knowing only the good was removed from creation, rest was not.
While tested and tried, God still offers us the peace of His rest. It is important to note that the Sabbath God created for man means more than ceasing from one’s work. Ceasing from one’s work only facilitates opportunities for increased faith in the Sovereignty of God.
Take note, anyone who disobeys God in this area of rest, as the people of Israel did, will fall. To fall means to know evil – to know evil means to sin – to sin means physical and spiritual collapse – a total shut down in our relationship with God. We live in a culture where the urgent replaces the important. This damaging lie ruins our faith in God’s sovereignty; it keeps us working and working until our physical rest is nonexistent. It produces an unbelieving heart that obstructs man from finding spiritual support and protection.
As with Adam and Eve, this shut down results in a distortion of perspective. We cover this distortion with the world’s solutions as the first couple covered their dilemma with fig leaves. Our covering may find us relief, but not rest. Rest in Hebrews 4:8-9 means to curb ones’ life from work. And to curb means to deliberately restrict oneself from falling away from God not just rest from our work. A Sabbath rest is to the soul as rest is to the body; it replenishes what the world takes from our spirit and body, so we can continue to work with spiritual vigor along with physical energy.
While I know I can’t completely rest all day, I can take Sabbath moments of rest. Like this morning, I have relished the time with the Lord since 7:30 am. Oh, how I need the Savior to help me stay focused on his mission! So, rest that soul of yours! Not for just a mere physical breather but also to replenish his truth in you that helps you obey God.
“So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who enter into God’s rest will find rest from their labors, just as God rested after creating the world. Let us do our best to enter that place of rest. For anyone who disobeys God, as the people of Israel did, will fall” (Hebrews 4:8-11).