That time God rested….

I am so THRILLED to introduce my friend, Mark Matthys to everyone. Mark is a good friend, talented writer, and has a heart for worship like no one I’ve ever known. He, too, understands God’s heart for Sabbath rest, and I’m honored that he wrote this devotion for us about that very subject. Enjoy!

“And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God created and made.” Genesis 2:2-3

Have you ever wondered why God, a perfect and spiritual being, Who is everywhere at all times and never sleeps, needed rest? Somehow I don’t believe that He finished six solid days of creating, wiped His brow, and thought, “Wow, I’ve been busy. I sure could use a nap.” No, I’m more of the belief that He rested as an example to us. He has given us examples of how to love, how to forgive, even how to pray. So it stands to reason that He also rested as a model for us to follow. Work for six days, rest on the seventh day. Rest is not a suggestion or a recommendation that God spoke to man. Rest is a commandment. In fact, it is so important, that it is the fourth of the ten commandments. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” (Ex 20:8)

For us mortal humans, rest is a necessity. It is required for the human body to perform as designed. When we do not allow ourselves adequate rest, our immune system weakens and we open the door to illness and disease. This illness and disease is not just confined to our physical bodies. When we break God’s commands, we open ourselves to physical, emotional, and spiritual weakness. I have recently learned this first hand. My life has been full of busyness in the last couple of months – large projects at work, personal growth and training, and participation in numerous church activities. All of these have held great importance to me for various reasons, and I over-extended myself. As a result, my time of resting in the Word diminished, and I became spiritually frail; my time of physically resting diminished, and I found myself sitting in my doctor’s waiting room; and my emotional health also took a nose dive.

When we push ourselves and do not take time to rest, we are, in essence, making our work and accomplishments our gods….thus also breaking the first commandment – to have no other gods before the Lord our God (Ex 20:3). The devil wants us to think that we have to be continually at work to be worthy. But we already hold worth in the eyes of our Creator. So we need to honor our Creator by being obedient to His commands. In doing so, we will be physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy in order for Him to work through us to reach the truly lost and sick of our community and the world.

Rest in God. Rest with God. Rest for God.

Heavenly Father, You have set before us a perfect model of how to live our lives. May we strive to be obedient to Your Word, and weekly take the time to rest, just as You have commanded. In our time of rest, let us press into You and hear the words of life and love that You are longing to whisper in our ears. In Jesus’ name, amen!

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