God commanded the Israelites to “remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). The Hebrew noun translated “Sabbath” is equivalent to the verb describing God’s actions on the seventh day of creation. “On the seventh day God had completed his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it he rested from all his work of creation”(Genesis 2:2–3). On the seventh day, God “sabbathed.” He “rested.”
Rest is important. It was always God’s plan. Mankind needs rest.
After escaping from Egyptian slavery, the Israelites made their way to the western shores of the Red Sea. Before them lay an impenetrable barrier. Behind them they could see the dust raised by the advancing Egyptian army. God’s message was: “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent” (Exodus 14:13–14, ESV). Sometimes God wants us to “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10, ESV).
King David’s twenty-third Psalm begins: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul” (Psalm 23:1–3, NKJV). David, probably an old man when he penned the memorable verse, knew the Great Shepherd that faithfully led him to “lie down” and restored his soul with refreshing rest.
Jesus also understood the importance of resting from busy, fast-paced life and ministry. “The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.’ For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat” (Mark 6:30–31).
Rest is among Jesus’ most precious gifts. He might be speaking to you, saying, “come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Gathered with His disciples, on the night that Judas betrayed Him, Jesus made a promise. “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world” (John 16:33). With the powerful presence of the Spirit of God indwelling us, we can know “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).
When we are worn to a frazzle, when our bones are weary, when we have no more fuel in the tank, we are invited to find rest in Jesus.
Let’s use Paul’s words as we pray for one another. “May the Lord of peace himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with all of you” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).
Personal note: I’m going away for a few days. Lord willing, my next Pastor’s Blog will be posted on Monday, October 25th. Until then, with Carla at my side, I hope to spend long hours reading and resting.
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.