Finding Rest for Your Soul

by | May 31, 2002 | Women

Jesus said, “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. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-­30, NIV).

Are you weary and burdened? The Father wants to lead you into His rest, just as He led Israel out of Egypt and into the land of rest (Jer. 31:32).

He wants to teach you that sabbath is not a day of the week but a state of the soul. To understand the secret of living in a soul sabbath, we need to examine three Hebrew concepts, which are ingredients of an uninterrupted inner tranquillity: sabbath, rest and peace.

The first mention of sabbath is in Genesis 2:1­3. In his book, The Five Books of Moses, author and Hebrew scholar Everett Fox offered this translation:

“Thus were finished the heavens and the earth, with all of their array. God had finished, on the seventh day, his work that he had made, and then he ceased, on the seventh day, from all his work that he had made. God gave the seventh day his blessing, and he hallowed it, for on it he ceased from all his work, that by creating, God had made.”

The Hebrew word that Fox translated ceased is the word shabath. The word in English is sabbath.

In most of our translations, the word has been rendered rest. In Genesis 2:2, then, we find that God “sabbathed.”

Several words here describe how God sabbathed: finished, ceased and hallowed. Notice that Fox translated shabath as ceased rather than rested. This is truer to its meaning.

According to Spiros Zodhiates in his book The Complete Word Study Dictionary , the Hebrew word most often used for rest is the word menuha, which means “a settled, deep stillness.” Menuha is the sabbath-rest we seek.

At the first mention of shabath, we find that God completed His work of creating and that He hallowed or sanctified the day because of its significance to Him. God’s rest, not humankind’s rest, identifies the Sabbath.

We can plausibly speculate with the ancient rabbis, who teach that on this first Sabbath God deliberately created for His people the gift of menuha—rest. We can be at rest because God did the work.

When He set Adam and Eve in the garden, the place was a finished work. It was complete—a land of rest.

God had another gift for His creation, the gift of shalom, a Hebrew word usually translated in English as peace. Zodhiates says shalom also means “total well-being.”

The term conveys wholeness and health in body and soul; to be complete. Shalom and shabath are related, and both suggest the meaning of “finished.”

Scripture records in Exodus 20:10­11, for example, that God rested on the seventh day because He was finished with all of His work. He sabbathed; He ceased. The word sabbath means “to be finished, to have completed the work.”

God created for six days, and on the seventh day He began a sabbath that was to last forever. God’s work has been in a finished state, completed since day seven.

When was the Lamb slain? Before the world began (Rev. 13:8).

When was the kingdom prepared for believers? Before the world began (Matt. 25:34). All of God’s work was finished, and so He sabbathed (Gen. 2:3).

Yet Jesus stated, “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working” (John 5:17). At one level—the spiritual realm—God’s work is finished. The work that remains is to release the reality of His finished work in the material realm in the fullness of time (2 Tim. 1:9-­10).

For example, grace was given to us before the beginning of time. But God revealed His grace in Christ’s coming to earth.

Sabbath Shadows

God’s finished work will be revealed on the earth at its appointed moment. But He has provided natural laws and principles in His Word that help us to interpret spiritual realities. Note these examples:

The Sabbath day. God established the Sabbath, the seventh day of each week, to be set aside for rest from work and for delighting in the Lord. The Sabbath observance is a day on which His people are to mimic His rest.

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