"Work and Rest" - Friday, October 28th

"Work and Rest" - Friday, October 28th

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. Exodus 20:9-10A

Today's thoughts from today's verses:

Today, we wrap up our week of looking at instruction from the book of Proverbs in regard to the subject of "work." At the beginning of the week we talked briefly about "rest" the counterpart of "work" and said we would come back to it at the end of the week (starting this week the Devotionals will be only 5 days, Monday through Friday). It seems that there are two major struggles people have with work: getting started and getting stopped. Some of us struggle with one or the other and some struggle with both. However, very few of us find the right balance between work and rest.

In today’s Scripture we see that in the Old Testament system, God's requirements for his people provided very specifically for this balance between work and rest. In the New Testament system God employs the principle of Sabbath rest rather than the specific Sabbath day rest of the Old Testament. We see this in Hebrews 4:6-11, where it says, “Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 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.”

This passage captures the shift to the New Covenant relationship God has with His people. So, the primary emphasis of Sabbath/rest for us is spiritual. God is at work in us to produce a life through us that corresponds with Who He is and all He desires for us. 1 Corinthians 3:16 deals with this shift as well: “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” We must rest from our own works and let the Spirit work in and through us. This is the Sabbath rest God has for His people today.

This does not mean that we escape work. We will need to work hard at all of life. Notice what Colossians 3:17, 23-24 has to say, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father …. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” It is God’s plan that we work heartily at all he gives us to do. But as temples of God indwelled by the Holy Spirit, the work we give ourselves to and the work that comes forth from us must always be God’s doing.

In addition to the primary emphasis of Sabbath/rest we must give ourselves to the secondary emphasis of Sabbath/rest as well. Here we are looking at the concept behind the Old Covenant understanding of Sabbath/rest. While Sabbath observance is not carried forward, the concept of resting from human activity is. We should be devoted to hard work but not so devoted that we don’t build necessary rest into our lives.

So, Sabbath/rest is first, a new covenant concept that deals with the inward spiritual reality of entering God’s rest, whereby we rest from work generated by us in favor of work generated by Him in and through us; and second, it is the need to rest from human activity (the concept behind the Old Covenant understanding of Sabbath/rest). The idea of resting from human activity includes the physical rest of sleep, as well as the need for breaking away from routine responsibilities in favor of recreational rest (this is multi-faceted and includes daily breaks, days off, vacations, etc.).

Let’s conclude with Matthew 11:28-30, where it says, “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.” Sabbath is all about rest. Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath and the Lord of rest. Most of us are weary and heavy-laden and desperately in need of rest on all levels. We have much to learn about Sabbath rest and Jesus invites us to come and learn from Him. He is gentle and humble in heart and waiting to give rest to our souls. He will do it if we will come to Him. He really means it when He says His yoke (work) is easy and His burden is light.

Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

Come up with your own prayer response today (for the whole week) that incorporates into it some "good" wisdom that has truly touched your soul.

He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will find good. Proverbs 19:8

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