Is Sabbath rest really something we need to do?

How to rest is something that most people in the West would not struggle with (I realize that finding the time to rest is a whole other thing in our busy culture, but the idea of resting is well grasped!). Some people rest on their vacations. Others rest as they get a massage or go to the salon. Still others find rest watching their favorite Netflix shows. Ask people in other, less prosperous parts of the world, how they “rest” and you’ll find very different answers. Does that make Westerners wrong? Absolutely not! But it’s interesting to think about how “rest” can have so many different interpretations, depending on where and when you live. Of course, the absolute best and most authoritative place to go for info on “rest” would be God’s Word, and He actually has a lot to say about it.

When the Sabbath was first institutionalized, it was right after the Israelites were freed from Egypt. Of course, technically the first Sabbath was the 7th day of creation, but God first commands we take that Sabbath rest in Exodus 16. This is when the Israelites are first introduced to manna, “heaven’s cornflakes” (I believe that’s from one of the guys from Bible Project, but no clue which one). They’re supposed to gather manna every day, except for the 6th day, in which they’re supposed to gather double the manna so they can rest on the 7th day. Then the cycle starts all over again. So interesting, right? Of course, some of them screw it up and I can’t help but think, I’d be right there with them. I know I would have been looking all around on that first 7th day, knowing that there wasn’t technically, supposed to be any manna, but where in the world is the manna? And what if it just doesn’t show up again tomorrow? What are we going to do? What if we keep ticking God off? Is He going to just stop our flow of Heaven’s Cornflakes??

I’ve always struggled with that Sabbath Day commandment. I mean, is it REALLY that necessary in our modern age? I get not killing people and having no other gods for example, but seriously? Resting on the Sabbath as a commandment? I’m super busy, do I really need to do that? Can’t I just watch a good movie and call it a day?

The more I’ve thought about it, though, I realized my definition of rest was wrong. I realized that the rest that God calls us to is so much more than vacations, or spas, or shows. It’s not about relaxation and entertainment (although neither of those things are “bad”). But that’s not the point of the Sabbath, especially when considering the above information. The point is that the rest God calls us to is a day of honoring God and believing that He will continue to provide. We’re always called to work wholeheartedly as unto the LORD (Col. 3:23), but on that 7th day, we’re called to rest from all the striving and working. It’s one of the most difficult things to do. Why is that? Could it be that we may inadvertently believe we are in control of things and that if we don’t continue to push and work and just “do”, life as we know it will come to a screeching halt? Everything will get all sorts of screwed up?

We need to remember that the Sabbath is about glorifying God and trusting Him to continue to work all things out for our good, and His glory. It’s having peace and trusting that even though we may “feel” as if we need to work, we choose not to since we, as God’s people, know that He is in control. And since we know He is in control and He is God, unlike, potentially, the people around us, we can obey His commands whether or not we want to, whether or not we understand. If we trust Him, we can choose to obey Him by God’s grace.

This is such a big “ouch” for me. I want to trust Him, but if I’m honest with myself, I struggle with keeping my mind from racing to all the things that need to get done and all the things I need to do to keep my head above water. I need to keep reminding myself I’m not the one in control. My job is to honor God and enjoy Him forever. I do that 6 days a week by working wholeheartedly as to the LORD, and 1 day a week, I do that by trusting Him wholeheartedly as I rest.

I need so much help and accountability in this area. My heart says yes to God, but my head says no more often than I’d like to admit. Can anyone else feel my pain? I hope we can not just walk boldly, but rest boldly, together in the Truth that we really can trust God.

And just FYI, The Bible Project is doing an incredible podcast on the concept of Sabbath rest that I would highly recommend to anyone who wants to get a much better understanding of the Sabbath than I could ever give. That’s actually what made me think so much. When I was listening to one of their podcasts, I realized a huge part of the concept of having a day of rest is to demonstrate our faith!

©2024 Mud Hen Mama


We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?