Sabbath Rest

By Pam Miller

On the 7th day God CREATED… 

Wait! Didn’t God rest on the 7th day? If my mom were asking this, she would add, “What is this heresy you are writing, Pamela Grace Eggleton Miller?” Yes – This would definitely qualify for the use of my full name!

I recently started Priscilla Shirer’s study, Breathe – making room for the Sabbath. On page 14, she quotes from The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man by Jewish Rabbi, Abraham Joshua Heschel. While many translations of Genesis 2:2 use “BY the seventh day”, some use “ON the seventh day” which is used in the Orthodox Jewish Bible. In Hebrew the word “menuha” is not a negative word (no work or activity) it is a very positive word meaning rest, serenity, and peace.

“The words: ‘On the seventh day God finished His work’ (Genesis 2:2), seem to be a puzzle…We would surely expect the Bible to tell us that on the sixth day God finished His work. Obviously, the ancient rabbis concluded, there was an act of creation on the seventh day. Just as heaven and earth were created in six days, menuha was created on the Sabbath. After the six days of creation – what did the universe still lack? Menuha. Came the Sabbath, came menuha, and the universe was complete.”

It makes sense that since God created everything, He also had to create rest. God didn’t need to put His feet up and take a nap, (though to some of you reading this that’s exactly what you need to do). He was still creating on the seventh day and the universe wasn’t complete until then.

On page 109 Priscilla, (yes, we are on a first name basis), quotes from Richard Swenson’s book, Margin/The Overload Syndrome:

“God does not have to depend on human exhaustion to get His work done…God is not so despairing of where to turn next that He has to ask us to go without sleep five nights in a row. Chronic overloading is not a spiritual prerequisite for authentic Christianity. Quite the contrary, overloading is often what we do when we forget who God is.”

Ouch!

Let’s set an example and show our overloaded co-workers, our exhausted neighbors and our frazzled friends that there is another way. This saying, attributed to different people, has hit Pinterest, the Twitterverse and probably the Marvel Universe in various memes:

“Destroy the idea that you have to be constantly working or grinding in order to be successful. Embrace the concept that rest, recovery and reflection are essential parts of the progress towards a successful and happy life.”

Yes, mom, I know God doesn’t guarantee a “happy life,” but He does promise an abundant life. One way to have an abundant life is to observe Sabbath. When workers rest we can soak up God’s Love. When we know we’re loved we can hear God’s Voice. When we hear God’s Voice, we can see where He is on the move, and then we can join Him in His Kingdom work, which is NOT exhausting.

“All of us need to be lovers who work rather than workers who love.” ~ Bob Sorge

Because “lovers outlast workers.”

Amen