Leviticus 23:3 (ESV) – Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the LORD in all your dwelling places.
I’m terrible at getting rest. I am a highly driven person that finds fulfillment in hard work and being productive. My identity is not wrapped up in it, but it is not in my nature to sit around and do nothing. And that’s okay. The LORD hasn’t asked me to sit around and do nothing. But He has commanded me to rest. And I need the constant reminder and challenge that it is not something He commands lightly.
Our passage today highlights this principle and truth. We read in Leviticus 23:3, “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the LORD in all your dwelling places.”
What is the Sabbath rest? Many Christians debate about whether this is a Saturday or Sunday thing. Others believe it is specifically tied to the day of worship to the Lord in corporate gatherings. Sabbath is definitely connected to all of these things. But at an even deeper level, Sabbath rest is about ceasing from our toils and labors to find rest and peace in God. Rest is not about a day of laziness, but a day of trusting God by not grinding through more work.
The aim of Sabbath is not only the worship of God—which it certainly does include—but is also for our good. God institutes this, not because He is robbed of something if we don’t, but because we are if we don’t. If we don’t learn to rest from our labors, and trust God for what gets left undone on those days, we begin to think the world revolves around us. We need rest. But we also need reliance upon the Lord and not ourselves. We need to recognize that more can get done in six days dedicated to work and one day dedicated to resting in and enjoying God, than could be done in seven days of work.
The rhythm of rest and Sabbath is given by God for man.
The Sabbath exists for man, not the man for Sabbath. In the wisdom and kindness of God, He invites us to rest, just as He commanded us to work. This is a matter of faith just as anything else is. We have to trust God enough to cease from labor.
We must believe His wisdom surpasses ours in providing us this principle. Find solemn rest in your God and enjoy it.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why is the Sabbath rest instituted?
- What are the struggles and challenges we have with taking a Sabbath rest?
- How do you typically Sabbath rest? What does it look like in your life? What needs to change?
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