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WHY DO WE REST?
The bible says that when God finished all his work of creation he made the seventh day a holy day of rest. From that day to this, in memory of the seventh day, and later as one of the ten commandments, the seventh day has been known as the Sabbath, a holy day of rest. The word holy means sacred and separate from other things. Just like God, we do separate things from each other don’t we? There are things that are commonplace and things that are precious and important, like birthdays and holidays.
But why does God want us to rest like himself? Why do we rest one day in each week? I think if you have already started school or started work you will know the answer to that question at once. There is a well known saying that ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’ God did not create us to spend all our time studying or working for a living. If we do, we, like Jack, will become dull and miserable. We need to play, have fun and rest from work. God rested and since we are made like him we should rest too.
God rested on the seventh day because his work of creating the universe, the earth and mankind was finished. It was complete and perfect. (Genesis 1:31). Moreover, God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it for our enjoyment, a separate day each week to spend with our family and friends. These are real blessings that make us happy because we can spend time together. We can leave our studies and work to be close to those we love and care for. We can also thank God for all his goodness, join with other families and friends to worship God and sing joyfully to him and his Son Jesus Christ.
We need time together and time with God to restore our strength, health and resources, both physical and spiritual. Just as the earth we live on needs one out of four seasons to recuperate and recover its natural properties, so God also said, ‘Sow and reap your crops for six years, but let the land rest and lie fallow during the seventh year, and let the poor among the people harvest any volunteer crop that may come up; leave the rest for the animals to enjoy. The same rule applies to your vineyards and your olive groves. Work six days only, and rest the seventh; this is to give your oxen and donkeys a rest, as well as the people of your household--your slaves and visitors. Be sure to obey all of these instructions; and remember--never mention the name of any other god.’ (Exodus 23:10) God’s commands are always given in love for his creation, for mankind, for the animals and for the land. He loves everything he has created and wants the best care and provision that we can supply, too. He wants us to share in looking after the wild life, the earth, land, rivers and sea and all that lives on the earth. God even remembers the slaves who have been made slaves by men, not by God.
Here we see the wisdom of God, that not only people and animals but the land itself needs rest, too. God has configured the planets with a time schedule and he has configured our time to be divided between work and rest. As you already know God created time for signs, seasons, days and years that the cycle of nature and human life might be united in balance, harmony and correspondence. God has written his Word in and on everything he has created.
Of course you know that we need more than rest; we need sleep and that is why our twenty four hour days are divided between daytime or light and nighttime or dark. That is how God has provided for work and sleep both of which we need to stay alive and be the best we can be in health, work and study. Without sleep we cannot function at our best. So get plenty of sleep and rest and take that one day a week off, the seventh day to get a complete break from work and study.
Question1 Read Lionel's prayer. What was Lionel searching for?
Question 2 Why was he so unhappy?
Question 3 How might he have found God?
Question 4 What can you do to rest from work and study?
Question 5 What is the relationship between the way God created the universe, nature and rest?
Question 6 Plan a rest program for yourself