And The “Rest” Was History

We all have to sleep, don’t we? Sleep is an important cycle to keep us going. I read an interesting article by Tel Asiado called The Need to Re-Energize: Why it is important to Rest, Sleep, and Relax. He had an interesting quote that reads, “To maintain a balanced physical, mental, emotional and spiritual best, a bodily store of energy has to be abundantly sustained.” Sleep is important and we need it to be able to live productive and healthy lives; however, it often seems like individuals today have a tendency to abuse their sleep cycles whether sleeping too much or not enough.

Asiado says in another place in his article that, “Nowadays, with everyone striving for wealth, social position, fame, dominance, or simply trying to struggle for survival , the regard for nature’s signal to stop and re-energize is often neglected.” How true is this statement? I know, at least in my own life, that it can be a struggle to get the amount of sleep that I need whenever I live in a fast-paced, amped up world. When I was in college—and even now—I would see students that survive on 3 or 4 hours of sleep a night and sometimes less. At least in the collegiate realm there is a pressure to succeed. You need to make good grades so you can get a good job, make friends that can help be good contacts for you, and take part student activities that will give you good social and economic opportunities. I imagine that the business realm would not be much different.

We live in a fast-paced and stressed out world. But, rest and relaxation is still important to live a productive, healthy, and stress-free life. I read a good article about the benefits of sleep from the website The author wrote, “sleep plays a vital role in promoting physical health, longevity, and emotional well-being.” Here are some of the health benefits of sleeping—Sleep:

  1. Helps to repair your body
  2. Helps keep your heart healthy
  3. Reduces stress
  4. Improves your memory
  5. Helps control body weight issues
  6. Reduces your chances of diabetes
  7. Reduces the occurrence of mood disorders

Here is another quote from the article on, “Studies show that people who get the appropriate amount of sleep on a regular basis tend to live longer, healthier lives than those who sleep too few or even too many hours each night.” So the odds are in favor for not only being restful but sleeping as well.

In Genesis 2:1-3 we see an interesting occurrence. It reads, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.” Why did God rest here? Look at this next reference, Psalm 121:4 (ESV) says, “Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” After reading Psalm 121, do you see why Genesis 2:2-3 is interesting?

God didn’t need to rest from his work, but he knew of the benefits it would have for man to rest. God rested not because he needed to, but instead to give man an example to follow. How do we know that God intended for man to follow the pattern of work 6 days and then take a day to rest and recharge? Exodus chapter 20 is one of those chapters that house the 10 commandments. We see in Exodus 20:8-11, coming in at number four of God’s top 10 rules to live by. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Wow, God was really serious about making it a necessity to rest. He made it into a commandment.

It might be interesting to note again why he counted it holy. If we look again at Genesis 2:3 we see why God blessed the Sabbath day making it holy. This is why, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. God just cares for his creation so much that he gave us a day of the week that we should take a big chill pill. God is basically affirming what he wants to say by making it into a command. If God were to speak to many of us today I could hear him say, “Chill out, relax, kick your feet up, and take a break from all your hard work.”

Jesus will even pick this notion up in Mark 2:27 after he critics the Pharisee’s assessment of his disciples when they are picking grain on the Sabbath. The Pharisee’s said that it was unlawful for them to pick grain on the Sabbath. They said this because they viewed it as work and it was unlawful to do any form of work on the Sabbath. Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” The Sabbath was made for man to be nourished, filled, and rested. The Sabbath was a built in day of the week where man had no other choice but to rest. The Sabbath was created for man because God cared for man and knew that they would need a day of rest; so, he built it in for our good, for our benefit. In reality, God probably figured on man’s nature to be bent toward work, work, work and no rest so he headed it off at the pass.

God wants us to be sober-minded, thinking clearly of our calling that he has placed on our lives. If we didn’t rest then according to our judgment, mood, and ability to learn and retain information would be weakened.

Hebrews 4:9-11 speaks of rest in this way, “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. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.” So, if we enter into rest then we will rest from all of our works whether that work is purely secular or spiritual. Whatever your occupation there is a need to get away and take a break from your labor. You owe it to yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Peace, Love, and Christ ‘cause you know He died for you!

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