Scripture reading: Genesis 1-2
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2:2-3
In the beginning, a glimpse is given of that which was undistorted by sin. Resting on the seventh day is part of that design. God sets a day apart and makes it holy. He creates a sanctuary in time in which men and women can come to worship Him. It is the Sabbath. That is the meaning of the word we translate as “rest.” It means “to cease.” God rested—not because He was weary. God rested to set aside a day for His children to rest. Eventually it would become a commandment, but first it was a gift (Exodus 16:29). Most people shrug off this gift and do not care to open it. It is a shame. Many people boast of their workload and how much they do. This exhibits a lack of self-control. God has designed us for rest. He has designed us to cease on the seventh day. How have I viewed the Sabbath? Is it a priority for me? This text calls me to worship God in this special sanctuary of time each week, as the Sabbath comes to remind me that I have been given permission to cease from the busyness of the world.
Dear Lord, please search me in this. Do I rest? Do I cease? How have I rationalized Sabbath out of my life? Help me open and value the gift of the Sabbath each week as I look forward to special time with you. Amen.
Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you. Psalm 116:7
There is a long conversation that goes on inside my head (and perhaps my heart). It is the ongoing conversation of self-talk. Day in and day out I have this ongoing dialogue that is usually very dependent upon my current situation or my perception of that same situation. Many times I can hear hopelessness or failure in these not so quiet moments. Harmful self-talk causes me to identify myself by the things that have defeated me, causing me to end up in a very unhealthy place.
I think it may have been the same for the psalmist. Be at rest once more. I love considering that. I can be at rest in my soul. I know it is possible because it has happened before. Once more. Once again I long for my soul to be at rest–the same way that it has found rest before by considering all the ways the Lord has been good to me.
Self-talk which is healthy for me is the dialogue that reminds me that I have been created in the image of Almighty God and that he has created me uniquely and specially. I have dignity because my Creator has given me that dignity. He created me and he loves me–even when I was separated from him by my sin. He demonstrated his love by sending Jesus to die in my place. I have been rescued by Jesus and now all my sins are forgiven. I am no longer defined by the things that have defeated me, I am defined by the one who has given me breath and life.
Be at rest, the Lord has been good.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
I don’t know about you but it doesn’t take much for me to live in weariness. So many things in the day-to-day activity of life can cause me to get weary. There seems to be a relentlessness to everything that needs to be done and all the people that need to be pleased. I can feel as though I need to be immediately accessible. Technology continues to reach into every moment of my life.
I remember when I was younger and technology was not twenty-four seven. Every night the television stream would stop transmitting as people stopped. Weekends were preserved as Sundays would find stores closed and a slower pace to life. But that is not the way it is now.
So what is it that Jesus offers? Rest. Rest from the weariness of this world. Rest from the weariness of guilt and shame. Rest from the weariness of trying to live up to everyone’s expectations. Rest from the weariness of holding on to bitterness. Rest from the weariness of trying to find my purpose. Rest from the weariness that causes me to carry a burden that is too great. Rest.
In some ways it sounds too good to be true. But it is absolutely true that if I go to Jesus and remain in his love I will find this sweet rest. I know this to be true by my experience as well. Find rest my soul in God alone, my Rock and my salvation!