What does the Bible teach us about rest?

It is summer and most people look forward to go and rest with their families, to become healthier and to strenghten their relations. Others never go to rest, but if they take a holiday, they use it to stay at home and work around the house. Some people, even if they go to rest are ashamed to tell others, so that people may not think they are lazy. So, people’s opinions about rest are divided. That’s why, it is good and necessary to look at what God says in the Bible about rest.

God commanded us to rest

The fourth of those ten commandments says:

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8–11)(NASB)

Everyone who works needs to rest and God commanded this rest for people and for animals. The sabbath day reflects a state God had after He created heavens, earth and water in those six days of creation. So, the sabbath day is a remembrance and a celebration of God the Creator.

The land needs rest too

Another commandment from the Old Testament says:

Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop, but during the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD; you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard. Your harvest’s aftergrowth you shall not reap, and your grapes of untrimmed vines you shall not gather; the land shall have a sabbatical year. All of you shall have the sabbath products of the land for food; yourself, and your male and female slaves, and your hired man and your foreign resident, those who live as aliens with you. Even your cattle and the animals that are in your land shall have all its crops to eat. (Leveticus 25:3–7)(NASB)

At all times all nations knew that the land needs rest and they gave it, but in these last days people apply an exaggerated intensive agriculture to the land and this doesn’t allow it have the rest set by God.

The rest is the image of the Kingdom of Heavens

The rest established by God through more commandments was an image of the future Kingdom of Heavens, as the Scripture means when it says that Sabbath is “the shadow of the things to come” (Colossians 2:17). The author of the Epistle to Hebrews draws readers’ attention that people of Israel haven’t really entered the true rest of God either when they kept the Sabbath Day or when they entered the land of Canaan with Joshua. That’s why, it says:

So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:9–11)(NASB)

Jesus Christ is the Lord of the true rest

Once, when the disciples of Jesus went through the grainfields they became hungry and began to pick the heads of the grain and eat them. The Pharisees saw that and blamed them for infringement of God’s law. The Lord Jesus answered them so that they might understand that their religion blinded them to the point that they didn’ t see the person and didn’t show mercy for anyone. Then, Lord Jesus added:

For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. (The Gospel of Matthew 12:8)(NASB)

The Savior of the world used this to announce the Pharisees that He is the Lord of rest, because the word “Sabbath” means “rest”. Before Jesus had that discussion with the Pharisees, He had said something important:

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (The Gospel of Matthew 11:28–30)(NASB)

I suppose that the reader realized how important it is to take time for a qualitative rest with the whole family. It is much more important and primordial for every person to believe in Jesus Christ from all their heart, to repent and to enter the covenant with Him, so they may enter the true rest of God. This is the most important decision in life that brings “rest for our souls” on this earth and inheritance in the Kingdom of Heavens. May God help us!

Translated by Felicia Djugostran