8 Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 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. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy
How important is it that we have time in our week when we slow down and become still and quiet? Important enough for God to make the command for a day of rest, a Sabbath, so important that He included it as part of the Ten Commandments! If you were going to write 10 commandments for living what would you include, would you include rest? Rest is included next to don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, all things we would agree are important, but rest? Is rest really that vital for living? We look at rest as something we do after we work but is that really how it works? The Sabbath was God’s final day of creation when He rested from His work, but it was man’s first full day of existence, so man begins his life with rest, not work!
“On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested[a] from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation” Genesis 2:2-3
Rest is not the absence of work but the presence of a relationship with God. It’s out of this relationship that work gains its meaning; we cannot find meaning in work without rest. Many of us are doing life backwards we are working to rest instead of resting to work! So our world is preoccupied with working to retire instead of retiring with God so we can work. We live for the weekend and miss the week; we make life about retirement instead of relationship. For many of us true rest (resting in our relationship with God, just being with Him) is hard. We rebel against the idea of a Sabbath rest, we want to work. Just as we need rest, so does the ground we work.
2 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. When you have entered the land I am giving you, the land itself must observe a Sabbath rest before the Lord every seventh year. 3 For six years you may plant your fields and prune your vineyards and harvest your crops, 4 but during the seventh year the land must have a Sabbath year of complete rest. It is the Lord’s Sabbath. Do not plant your fields or prune your vineyards during that year. 5 And don’t store away the crops that grow on their own or gather the grapes from your unpruned vines. The land must have a year of complete rest”. Leviticus 25:2-5
By this rest, the soil is restored and revitalized; the vines and trees are given the free growth, unpruned, and again renew their vitality. The value of the sabbath in regenerating the soil is very great. But man, lacking faith, prefers his own work to God’s work, and his proposed work to God’s Sabbath. So man invents ways around rest, we “create” modern sprays, manufactured fertilizers, and other devices. Yet the soil is steadily mined and abused, treated as something science can make and re-make, and even do without. The earth clearly is renewed by rest, or it is exploited ruthlessly through work. Rest renews and produces useful fertile soil where continued work exhausts and drains, finally producing a desert. What does the soil of your life look like, are you renewed or exhausted? What are you resting in? Religion teaches us that we have to work to get and then work to hold onto, but a relationship with Jesus teaches that He has done the work and we get to rest in His work. Do you have a relationship or religion, are you resting or working? Is it time to get alone with God to renew your soil and really rest?