“And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.” (Genesis 2:2-3)
By Guest Writer Dr. Jim O’Neill, Author of “Teaming up with God“
God did the unthinkable; He rested on the 7th day. After 6 creating filled days with minutes, hours and days full of bringing the universe out of nothing. He concluded the week with a rest. This would be called the Sabbath…the rest. This would become so important that God would call it ‘holy’. Rest is holy? Yes!
Does rest work? We humans cannot function well without rest, both nightly and weekly. When the Communists took control of Russia in 1917 within a short period of time Vladimir Lenin and their leaders sought to remove all vestiges of Christian influence including the 7 day work/rest sequence. They created a 2-week cycle for work and animal care. Within months their animals could not sustain this much work without rest as this new pattern was destroying their economy. When their animals and humans functional rhythms disintegrated, the leaders had to admit there was something to this Christian idea of rest. They had to go back to the 7-day cycle or risk of destroying the social order.
Man was not designed for non-stop unlimited work without rest. And God rested on the 7th day and called it the Sabbath. Man must do the same. This is a gift from God. We all need time to change the pace from just pure work. Rest, weekly, of the holy sort, gives us humans time to reflect. We find time to give the inner soul some space to be heard.
The soul can be ignored. This comes at great cost. The solution is not prescribed medication to drown out our pain but to take the time to be quiet. To listen, to hear and to learn what the soul is saying. When meditation on Scripture is added to this ‘holy’ day, the gift of soul care is set just as God intended. This is his gift to us.
Imbedded into the 10 Commandments, the Sabbath gave rest from meaningful labor. The Sabbath gave Israel time to remember they were once slaves; slaves in a land not their own. But God gave redemption with a strong arm for all the world to see. This rhythm would guide the nation and remind them of redemption from slavery and help toward creating a healthy society. Our interior life must be attended to or we do not become whole…or holy.
The Sabbath permitted the needed space to think, to recall, to be reminded of God’s good hand. The implication is we will forget if we don’t create the space to remember. God’s redemption can be forgotten, taken for granted. The Sabbath would refuel God’s People. The soul is given protection. We must be sure to protect this unique gift given by our Creator.
Dallas Willard once noted that ‘Our soul is like a stream of water, which gives strength, direction, and harmony to every other area of our life. When that stream is as it should be, we are constantly refreshed and exuberant in all we do, because our
soul itself is then profusely rooted in the vastness of God and His Kingdom, including nature; and all else within us is enlivened and directed by that stream. Therefore we are in harmony with God, reality, and the rest of human nature and nature at large.’
(Renovation of the Heart)
So, take time to rest. But let the rest be of a particular kind. The kind that allows the soul to reconnect with your entire life of work and routine. The kind that allows for time to meditate on God’s truth. This Sabbath is the kind that can truly be called
‘holy’. God on Sabbath is the call to follow His example. Work and create for 6-days, then rest…and be holy in the rest.
PERSONAL REFLECTION: Why would God call himself to a Sabbath rest? How does our culture view such Sabbath Rest? What could you start doing to set aside Sabbath for your soul? Would love to hear your comments in the section God on Sabbath (Part 3).
From One Pilgrim to another together on the journey,
Guest writer Dr. D. Jim O’Neill
”Consider how you may spur one another on towards love and good deeds….. encouraging one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)
“ Intentionally journaling alongside of mission minded women in order to encourage them to see God in their story, moving them closer to Jesus, and to discover their place in God’s Kingdom so God will be worshipped among the nations”