Our Bible verse for today: “For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. Therefore, a Sabbath rest remains for God’s people. For the person who has entered his rest has rested from his own works, just as God did from his. Let us then make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall into the same pattern of disobedience.” Hebrews 4:8-11 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “There’s more to Sabbath-rest than just physical rest.”
In Hebrews 4:8-11 the writer actually used the term “Sabbath rest”, which is serving as our theme for this month. Although the practice of Sabbath is either taught directly or referred to more than 170 times in the Bible, and although resting as part of Sabbath is clearly taught, this is the only place in the Bible where the actual term “Sabbath rest” is used.
In this passage the writer reminds his readers of how it was that Joshua had led the nation of Israel into the Promised Land as they conquered their enemies and eventually had rest from their travels and from their battles. But it wasn’t enough. There was another deeper kind of rest which they needed. Being settled in permanent homes was nice; having time off from their labors was needed; and it was certainly a relief to finally be free from the constant conflict with their enemies; but God had something more in mind for their time of resting. There needed to be a spiritual dimension to it. In addition to being a time for physical rest, Sabbath-rest is a time of spiritual nurture and renewal.
There’s a deep and direct connection inside of you between the physical and the spiritual. The physical and the spiritual impact each other. As we learned from our friend, the Old Testament prophet Elijah, in a previous devotional message, if you are physically exhausted and emotionally drained you will also be spiritually weak. Likewise, if you are spiritually dry that will have a direct impact on every other part of your life. Therefore you need to take care of yourself physically but also mentally, emotionally, and especially spiritually as well. “Sabbath rest”, as opposed to just “rest”, is rest with a spiritual objective.
In the days to come we will consider some ways that we can achieve both physical rest and spiritual nurture at the same time. I’m not talking about weeks of seclusion in a monastery chanting ancient hymns with cloistered monks either. You may be surprised to learn how much fun Sabbath-rest can be. There are many ways to relax, have fun, and get spiritually recharged all at the same time. We’ll talk more about that tomorrow.