“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” (Genesis 2: 1-3 NKJV)
Rest. It’s not something I am very good at. I tend to push myself beyond exhaustion, until sometimes I am just ready to collapse on the floor and sleep. I feel a constant pressure to make sure that I am getting things done. If I don’t feel as if I am accomplishing something, I feel like a failure. I am sure many of you feel the same way. Especially when you are homesteading. There is a never ending list of things to accomplish, chores to do, and projects to complete, but it is important to remember that we require rest.
Genesis 1:26 says that God created man in his image, and then in today’s passage we see that God rested. If we are created in God’s image and he rested, what makes us think that we don’t require rest? In fact, we see here that God so valued the rest that he took that he sanctified it. Sanctify, according to Merriam-Webster, means, “to set apart to a sacred purpose.” This is why the Jews of the Bible, and many even still today, observed the Sabbath. They understood that God had set apart a special time of rest. A holy time that was meant to help to restore us, give us time to refocus on God, and to spend with family. It is why many Christians today observe church on Sundays. It is supposed to be a day set aside for rest before we start a new week.
Today’s fast paced, social media obsessed, commercially driven, must-complete-all-things-at-all-costs society does not encourage this time of rest. The weekend is a time to get things done around the house, to go shopping, to complete household chores. We have lost the meaning and purpose of a day of rest. How many times on the weekend do you see your spouse or children? Is your family busily running from this soccer game to that softball game, to that store to pick-up items needed for the week, to the fast food restaurant to grab something to eat before you have to head back to the ball field for the second half of a tournament? I see it all the time. We’ve done it as a family. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying there is anything wrong with doing those things. I am saying there is something wrong with taking on so many of those things that you have no time to rest.
What does it matter?
As I said before, God felt that a day of rest was so important that he sanctified it. Then to emphasize to his chosen people that he values it, in Exodus 20: 8-10, God actually made it a commandment to, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.”
But why does God put such emphasis on rest?
As humans we tend to naturally be concerned that if we stop working, if we don’t continue to produce, then we have failed. We will not gain acceptance by peers we consider important, or we will fail to provide the basic necessities for our family, or we will fail to gain that promotion at work. God commands us to rest, not just so that we will be physically restored, but so that we will have to lean on him. If we follow God’s command and take a day off from our labor we have to trust in God that the world will still be waiting for us when we come back to it. We have to trust that our garden will continue to produce, that our job will continue to provide for us, that our family will continue to know that we are doing everything we can to provide for them; and leaning on God is hard. Faith is not somethings easily come by. When we rest, we must put our faith in God that everything will continue on as it should. It is a loss of control which can be very difficult for many of us.
Learning to rest in God
By learning to physically take a day off from all the stresses of daily life we will be in better physical condition, but more importantly we will learn to place our faith in God and that is true rest. When we learn to give over the worries of daily life we will learn to truly rest in God and we will be restored mind, body, and soul. Have a great day and God bless!