We all know that God rested on the seventh day, not because he needs rest in the physical sense, but because setting boundaries for our world was important to him, and because he took time ot reflect before he moved on. Rest is a very large part of the human existance because our whole being needs it. Think about the words that are derived from the word rest: rest, restore, restoration, restraint. Stopping within a boundary to be revived. And this one - restlessness, another word for anxiety. It goes without saying that rest is about more than just sleep, but do we really think, when we are unrested, about what the lack of it is doing to our lives and those around us? Rest is about boundaries, having the mental strength to reflect on where we have been, deciding when to stop, bringing things back to normal, and taking a stand for our own well being.
Scriptures define the boundaries for our rest with the number 7. It is the number for completion, being finished, and for rest. On the cross, Jesus said:
“It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. John 19:30
Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away...John 19:31
It was because it was the time for the Sabbath, the same 7th day that God established after his work week was finished, that Jesus called for his suffering to end. He made the decision for himself before the Jews went to Pilate. The same 7th day about which so many old testament laws revolve. The same one that is repeated over and over throughout centuries when referencing times frames for the feasts. He decided that an end had come to his work, and it was time to honor God's seventh day, to rest.
And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”Exodus 33:14
Each day we seek rest for our bodies, each week - rest from our work, and periodically we find rest to restore our joy, be replenished spiritually, and to begin again. As I have gotten older I have seen the patterns of life require this third kind of rest as on intervention from God to close the past and begin a new episode in my future. Let us not forget that there is a time when the kind of rest we need is the rest that brings closure to the pain, the suffering, the hardship, the education...whatever period of endeavor that has been a long time coming to fruition. And we need to pause and let God walk us back through the good and bad of it, and find a new beginning.
Lord, as our readers study your word, make the number 7 jump out at them. May they see the fervant reminder of a Loving God that rest for our bodies, minds, and souls comes in many forms, but is not only available, expected and provided by you, but that you go before us to prepare it and ask us to do the same. In Jesus name. AMEN