Rest for the Weary
God knew what He was doing when He ordered periods of rest for His people
"Jesus said, 'Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.' " (Matthew 11:28)
If you've ever played an instrument in an orchestra or concert band or sung in a choir, you know how valuable measures (or periods) of rest can be. If musicians have to continue at their notes for long periods with no breaks, it can be exhausting; their music might not be as good if they are tired, and the performance of the whole group might suffer. Composers know what they are doing when they write in rests for their players.
Original Day Of Rest
Similarly, God knew what He was doing when He ordered periods of rest for His people. God had Moses write number 4 of the 10 Commandments. "Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day, no one in your household may do any work." (Exodus 20:8-10). Those are some excellent, nice traits; they are also some evidence of our allowing God to work in our lives.
God chose that seventh day because in the Creation narrative, we read how God had six distinct periods (or days) of creating all things. But "On the seventh day, God had finished His work of creation, so He rested from all his work" (Genesis 2:2). God Himself rested from (or ceased) His labor of building our universe, after He'd had a time of work. In Jesus' time, the Pharisees tried to use Sabbath rules to get Jesus in trouble. But Jesus explained, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. So the Lord God has set an example for us, and He gave us the gift of prescribing and requiring rest.
Bodies Like Instruments
God wrote rest periods into our lives as a composer writes rest measures for his or her musicians. A composer uses musicians to bring his or her musical vision to life. Again, without having some musicians rest while others are highlighted, and vice-versa, the musicians would all tire, and the group’s musical output would be poor. Besides, all the instruments constantly blaring away would not be musically attractive; the work would be compromised.
God's Promise of Rest
We should to take time to honor God, who said through the prophet, "I gave them My Sabbath days of rest as a sign between them and Me. It was to remind them that I am the Lord, Who had set them apart to be holy" (Ezekiel 20:12). We want to be God's holy people, set aside from the sin of the world, with Him at the center and as the Leader of our lives. We can take joy in His promises; He wants to take care of us. In the Old Testament, we read the promise "Blessed are those who honor My Sabbath days of rest and keep themselves from doing wrong" (Isaiah 56:2). And in the New Testament, the writer of Hebrews wrote that God will always save His faithful: "God's promise of entering His rest still stands... this good news -- that God has prepared this rest -- has been announced to us... we who believe can enter His rest" (Hebrews 4:1-3). We should honor God’s rest time and keep it set apart -- that means taking time to be with God and family, resting to rejuvenate our bodies and spirits. By doing this, we help further God's work in the Church, the Body of Christ.
Pray this week:
That God will help you honor “Sabbath time” to be with Him.
Have you failed to obey God's loving command to rest during certain periods of your life? If so, what happened? Maybe you're there now. Talk to someone about it.