I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around this word: rest. Funny, in order to comprehend it in all it’s forms, understand it so that I can DO it, I have been cogitating and agitating myself – and oops, did you catch what I said: So I can DO it.
Have you ever caught yourself wondering how to rest? I’m not a great napper, so as a kid when I was instructed to rest I begged to know what I was allowed to DO. May I color? Read? Listen to music? I’m still that way.
So let’s imagine, me, that little kid with a box of 36 crayons, and a blank piece of paper. For that matter, imagine the adult me with a palette of colors and a blank piece of pottery. You do it to. Begin to create, decorate, personalize. My page or piece would have a background of blue, a spattering of tiny, shapeless flowers and sprigs of green spurting up between the buds, reaching for a endless sky.
And then I screw it up.
You probably do too. It’s because we don’t know when to stop, cease, desist, refrain, conclude, shavat. Shava-what?
As I look at my masterpiece, I keep wondering what is missing. So I add a dot of purple, a few birds, bigger flowers, a house, a puppy, a swing, a kid, a fence – and suddenly my work is crowded, fussy and less-than-beautiful. Apparently more isn’t always more.
Thank God He didn’t have that problem with creation. God knew how to Shavat. On day seven, Sheba, he knew that what was good was complete. Interestingly enough, the Bible doesn’t say that God sat back with a good book, turned around to work on a different piece of art or started leading an angelic choir. The Scripture considers God Rested, as a complete thought, and gives no explanation.
God rested because He was finished. It was good, and perhaps to continue working would mess it up. Hmmm… (obviously a perfect God wouldn’t mess it up, but for the sake of argument, bear with me)
Jesus died on Friday afternoon, the Jewish 7th day, or Sabbath – Saturday. So, when Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” the sunset and next sunrise were Nature’s exclamation point – COMPLETE, DONE, FINITO, OVER, SIN IS CRUSHED, AND THE WORK OF SALVATION IS FINISHED!
The Sabbath and the Old Testament law are no longer binding on Christians. However, Sabbath, rest, is still good. More importantly, because Jesus finished the work, if we continue to work, thinking we can earn God’s favor, we will mess it up.