Sabina Tagore Immanuel on The Importance of True Sabbath Rest

(PHOTO: PIXABAY)

Chinese saint and scholar Watchman Nee’s exposition on the epistle of Ephesians uses 3 key passages to cull out a simple outline of the book – SIT, WALK, STAND (2:4-7, 4:1 and 6:11-13). His thesis is that, without knowing how to be seated in Christ, you can neither walk worthy of Him nor take a stand against the forces of darkness and evil.

His study throws up a real and key factor lacking in our Christian faith today – the concept of rest.

Rest Redefined

The English dictionary defines rest as “Cease work or movement in order to relax, sleep, or recover strength; allow to be inactive in order to regain strength or health.’ Strong’s Concordance defines rest as shabbath (שָׁבַת) which means to cease, to celebrate, to repose, to desist (from exertion), leave, put away etc. The word shabbath or Sabbath appears 71 times in the Old Testament and is a sacred observance connected to a day and a year.

Shabbath, or rest is, therefore, more of a time to sit back to contemplate and meditate, pause to think and thank for the past, rest and regain perspective of the present, assess and take stock to align priorities needed for the future. Rest is thus, neither a simple sitting idle nor catching up on different activities you couldn’t otherwise do.

Rest is Rejoicing

Rest is pulling back from a hectic schedule to take time to enjoy the calm at the end of a work well done and recharging your batteries for the next task just ahead of you. Gen 2:1-3 God rested on the seventh after He had finished creating everything. With great contentment at His handiwork and in the glory of that deep satisfaction, He blessed and hallowed the seventh day, bestowing it special favor to make it holy and sacred. It is the day He delighted in all that He had accomplished and chose to make it a mandate for His people.

God made rest an ordinance and a command as direct provision against work as well as an antidote and blessing that would offset the poison of sin and the curse it incurred. God valued and honored the Shabbath by making it part of the Ten Commandments, part of the feasts ordained for Israel (Lev 23) and set apart the Sabbatical year as well as the Jubilee year to proclaim rest and restoration!

Rest is Reasonable

Rest is included in the creative and salvific work of both man and woman. God made Adam on the penultimate day of creation so that man’s first day of existence was the day of rest. Again, when He made Eve, He caused Adam to be in deep sleep or rest before fashioning her out of his rib. So, in effect, while God rested after doing, man rested before doing!

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Sabina Tagore Immanuel