Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Sabbath leading to perfection of creation
Vs 1 - Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it.
“Rest is a weapon given to us by God. The enemy hates it because he wants you stressed and occupied,” Elizabeth Elliott. Rest and peace are synonymous. The real rest for a Christian is entering God’s rest.
We can find references of various kinds of “rest” in the Bible. They are:
God’s Sabbath rest - In Genesis 2:2 we read, “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work”. In Deut. 5:12 we read, “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you.” It was not that the good Lord was tired, but He has set an example for us by resting on the Sabbath day and given it as a commandment to follow it as it is needed for the perfection of the creation. To be “Holy” is to be set apart. The place of rest is a place that God has prepared for us and it is there that the will of God is carried out through us. It is also an indication that there is life beyond this world and that we can look forward to the rest with the Lord in Heaven one day.
Creation rest was meant for all mankind, but it was lost as we all sinned. In Ps. 95:10-11, we read, “They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways. So I declared on oath in my anger, they shall never enter my rest”.
Canaan rest refers to the rest the Israelites received after being slaves in Egypt and their journey in the desert for 40 years.
Rest in Christ for the believers, Heb. 4: 3, 10. Resting in Jesus is not taking a break from work, “but the harmonious working of all the faculties and affections of will, heart, imagination, conscience-because each has found in God the ideal sphere of its satisfaction and development,” (Vines concise dictionary). A person who trust in the Lord will have absolute peace irrespective of the problems he encounters, because he knows that God is in control.
The rest given to people who obey, Heb. 4:11. Israelites just had to trust in the Lord and His promises, but they murmured against Him. Some of them who rebelled were excluded from the Promised Land, Heb. 3:16-19.
Spiritual rest. Exo. 33:14, “Lord replied, My presence will go with you and I will give you rest”. Ps. 23:2, “He makes me lied down in green pastures.”
Calvary rest is the place where Jesus Christ was crucified and sacrificed Himself to give rest to all those who repent and believe. In Mat. 11: 28 we read, “Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Eternal rest in heaven. In Rev. 14:13, we read, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on, Yes says the spirit, they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them”. In John 14:2, Jesus said,” In my father’s house, there are many rooms… I am going there to prepare a place for you”. Jesus provides the eternal rest of salvation through the blood He shed on the cross for the remission of our sins. So, God’s rest is essentially the rest of salvation. Faith, which makes us rely on God’s Grace rather than relying on our own works, is necessary to achieve God’s rest. If we fail to trust fully in God’s promises, our disobedience deters us from entering eternal life, like some of the Israelites were not allowed to enter the Promised Land.
Lord, give us the wisdom and humility to faithfully seek God’s rest. Amen
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
St. Augustine said, “God has made us unto Himself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in God.”
Alex Thomas, Jackson, TN
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church