The very first mention of REST is found in Genesis 2:2-3: “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.”
How interesting that the first instance of rest came before the fall and was utilized by God, not man! This means that rest (in God’s eyes) doesn’t have anything to do with humanity, sin, weakness, frailty, sickness, health, or productivity. Rather, it is an act of worship and obedience. Sure, failing to rest has all sorts of mental, emotional, relational, and physical repercussions to our mind, heart, spirit, and body; but it is our lack of knowledge and not just our lack of rest!) that trips us up and gives the enemy about 1000 feet of rope by which to hang us.
God is a God of precision. He is articulate. Meticulous. Anyone coming out of the occult knows the importance of ritual. Occultists don’t have the option of putting their own spin on any given ritual. The objects, the order of the ceremony, the colors, the number of candles—you don’t mess with the formula. Every single detail must be just right or there is no power. An occultist wouldn’t dream of going off script and changing centuries-old ritualistic traditions; and yet, Christians do this all the time, but somehow still expect to receive power.
For those of you who get squeamish with the Old Testament, believing it was abolished by the death of Christ, done away with under some new, revised covenant, or something that is only applicable to the Jews; I will go to the New Testament for my proof text.
Hebrews 4:1, 4, “Therefore, since the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For somewhere He has spoken about the seventh day in these words: ‘On the seventh day God rested from all His works.’”
Would a Pagan decide one year that they’d rather celebrate Samhain in July, or that they’d move Beltane to December? And yet, millions of Christians acknowledge the first day of the week as their day of rest instead of the seventh?! And furthermore, between going to church, eating out afterwards, sporting events, demanding jobs, household chores, homework, yard work, and errands—does genuine soul rest or intimacy with our Savior even occur for most believers on Sunday? Sure, taking a day off of work, going to church, and taking a nap on Sundays probably does provide a little bit of a reset from the weekly routine—but it misses the entire point of “remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy” (especially if we aren’t even “remembering” the right day of the week!)
This isn’t about legalism, Judaism, or salvation. It is about intimacy with the Savior and increased discernment and power in spiritual warfare. The prophet Isaiah, speaking to idolatrous Judah, pinpointed their indifference to the Sabbath as the lynchpin upon which they would (or would fail to) receive blessing.
“If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
and call the Sabbath a delight
and the holy day of the Lord honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
then you shall take delight in the Lord,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Yahweh is the same yesterday, today, and forever. This Friday at sundown, the King of all Kings will be feasting and resting. He is offering YOU a seat at that banquet table. An opportunity to sit in His presence, and like John, lean upon the breast of Messiah, and be engulfed in waves of unfathomable love, mercy, and peace. A 24-hour sanctuary from the storms of life.
You don’t have to be Jewish, and you don’t have to worry about the details (your job, your spouse, your Church). I’m just asking you to give it a shot. Give God one 24-hour window to show you the peaceful power of His presence.
Vicki Joy Anderson