Saturday, September 3, 2011

Search for rest

Well, I just finished my ration of reading for the day. Ever since I started seminary a couple weeks ago, I've read more in a short period than I have in quite a while. It's looking like this will only increase. There's a certain kind of tiredness that comes with school reading that you really don't get any other way. You're brain just starts shutting down after a while... once that happens, the rest of the body follows.

In order to make room for school, I've had to cut back on my hours at work a little bit. This has spread my schedule in some interesting ways. Throughout the summer I was working regular 40 hour weeks, and that certainly took some energy out of me. But now that my mind is involved, it has a whole different feel. Not a "worse" feel, but a "different" feel. Perhaps it's better. I feel as if I'm exercising all of my muscles rather that leaving the main ones idle.

Right off the bat, we did an inductive study of Genesis 1. This has raised some interesting questions about "rest." God created the world in six days... in this time he taught humans how to create as well... when this was over, he rested and showed humans how to rest. That's a REALLY basic look at some of the lessons that were brought out of the first chapter of the Bible.

We as humans look forward to rest. Often it seems like we live for it. When we're looking forward to the weekend, sometimes it seems like all that matters. Then when Monday comes around, we don't get excited, but we dread it. It seems like this is something that bothers us all through life. When we're a kid, we look forward to growing up, but when we grow up we wish we were kids again. We'd kill for that kind of schedule, but we'll never get it back...will we?

Another lesson we learned from Genesis 1 is that it referred to many of the traditions of the Hebrews in their building of the temple. And we know from the New Testament that many of the traditions of the Old Testament point to their fulfillment in the New.

So, while we may honor the Sabbath in the New Testament mindset, how is it different from the Old? Why do we still seek a rest that never comes? Perhaps there is an answer in Hebrews 4: For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

There remains a rest? Perhaps that's what heaven is. Perhaps we have only tasted its first fruits. Perhaps all our weekends and all our summer breaks are a foretaste of something better. Perhaps this is why we fall into sin and discouragement so easily. We think the battle will stop on the weekend along with our schedule. But perhaps we need to remember that our week of 7 days only mirrors a greater spiritual reality that we are in the midst of right now.

Perhaps this is why the writer of Hebrews challenges us:

Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Yet he continues on to comfort us:

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

So let's take part in the paradox. Let's strive, strive for rest.


  1. thank you Eric for taking the time to continue with this blog. Please pray for my three children Eddie, Amy and Andy that the Lord will come alive to them in their lives. Aunt Bev

  2. Awesome, never looked at rest in this way. This answers a lot of questions. God bless Eric, you are a man of God. He uses you much! I am blessed by your blogs.