He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters (Psalm 23:2)
I am truly thankful for God’s creation and example of rest. I need it.
God doesn’t need to rest. In fact, except for that one time, after creation, God hasn’t rested. In Psalm 121:3-4 the psalmist writes,“He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” And we are thankful and secure and at peace because of that attribute.
But Jesus did rest.
He rested spiritually (taking time to be alone with God).
He rested physically (falling asleep in the boat).
He rested mentally (pulling away from crowds who were demanding his attention).
Let’s face it. As much as we look forward to the holiday season and a chance to “rest,” the preparation and pace of this time can sometimes take its toll. We need to not only follow Jesus’s example but God’s commands.
The writer of compassion.com lists five ways God tells us to rest.
From work: “Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work ....” (Exodus 23:1)
From trouble: “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him ….” (Psalm 37:7)
From anxiety: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
From stress: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)
From busyness: “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31)
Most of us learned from our high school and college years that there came a point when continuing to try to study had a negative return. We couldn’t retain any more information and our sharpness was waning. It was just better to go to bed. Somehow we have forgotten this concept in our parenting, working, and care-giving years.
But If God created, demonstrated, and commanded rest, and Jesus gave us the perfect examples of resting, then we should certainly do it. Take time this holiday season, amidst the hustle and bustle to . . . rest.