Hebrews 4:9-11 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no-one will fall by following their example of disobedience.
The fact that this passage ties our minds in knots shows that we don’t really understand rest. Modern society provides most of us with more leisure time than our ancestors could have dreamed of, yet we suffer from from chronic lack of sleep or insomnia (which aren’t the same thing) and burn out from all sorts of stress-related disorders. A big part of that is that we have forgotten what Sabbath is all about. In our always-on technology-driven culture, we don’t know how to set things aside and focus on God, to open ourselves up to Him, and that is what Sabbath is all about. Smart phones have certainly accelerated that trend, with people checking their phones even in the middle of the night, not to mention frequently throughout the day. That’s no way to rest! Yes, it does take real effort to buck that trend and receive the rest God has for us. Any addiction can take a lot of work to kick. However, the payback is enormous. We get so caught up in the drive to do stuff that we even become envious of the dead, which is where the famous Rest In Peace comment comes from. We need to learn how to RIP while we’re still alive! The only way to do that is to refocus our priorities on the One who created us, accepting His schedule for us with joy and not resentment, trusting that His plans for us are the absolute best there could be. Entering God’s rest requires faith, first and foremost, but He has that available for us if we will choose to accept it.
It’s been quite a few years now since the Lord told me to rest, relax, rejoice. I could track it down in my sermon notes, since I spoke on it at the time, but the exact date is unimportant. He has reminded me of it countless times since then, and I’m still learning! Right now He has me in a training period I hadn’t imagined, resting from speaking and singing because of a polyp on a vocal cord. This is some of the hardest resting I’ve ever done! The desire to speak and the desire to sing well up within me, and giving that to God without being vocal is a real struggle. He is teaching me that my words and my music are just that, my words and music, and I’ve got to cut that out to let Him pour His words and music through me, in His time. Just when that time will be is His business, and I’ve got to trust Him with that. This morning I have a nursing school class, and I’ve got to trust Him to enable me to use the microphone effectively so that I don’t do any further damage. I am to be there for the sake of my students, and not for my own pride. Next week we have a review lesson and the following week is a Christmas party, before a second review lesson and then the examination in January. I need to do all those things for the students, and not for me, so I’ve got to trust God with it all. That’s what Sabbath is all about!
Father, thank You for continuing to correct and train me. Help me not “kick against the goads,” (Acts 26:14) but rather accept and act on the things You teach me, so that I may rest, relax, and rejoice in my Lord Jesus Christ indeed, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!