So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Hebrews 4:9-10
Two years ago, after a women’s conference at my home church, I had the opportunity to share a word of encouragement with the speaker. I didn’t know at the time that God would intertwine our paths and allow us to serve alongside one another at several future events. But as I hugged her and withdrew, offering her smiles and warm words, she looked deep into my eyes and spoke a word to me.
“God says rest.”
Her gaze seemed to reach into my soul, and I sensed my Father in it. Her message reinforced something God had already been stirring up in my heart. He called me deeper. To the abiding place, where I would no longer go in and out from His presence. Instead, I would remain there. In that place, I would learn rest in Him.
I acknowledged that to her, and she spoke once more.
“It’s deeper. It’s deeper than that.”
Her words have lingered, surfacing off and on these last two years as I’ve sought to fulfill the call God has placed on my life. I know with certainty that God calls me to deep rest. But I’ll be honest with you. I haven’t known how to find it.
And all the while, Galatians 6:9 beckons relentlessly.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Sometimes our mandates from God can become the very thing the enemy uses to destroy us. The slave driver convinces us to bow under oppression once more. Only this time, we bow in the Name of Jesus. After all, we must continually sow if we hope to reap.
That thinking seems right—even noble—at first glance. But it negates another equally important mandate, one that God finds so significant, He incorporated it into the ten commandments.
“Remember the Sabbath… to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8
God extends two invitations through scripture that seem at cross purposes. Tireless perseverance. And Sabbath rest.
Do you ever find yourself caught in the pull of these two callings? I do. And let’s be honest. If our hearts lean toward Kingdom purposes, the one we more readily let go of is rest. We keep going. Pushing. Believing that God will honor our faithfulness and look with praise upon our efforts.
But does God ever turn a blind eye when we willfully dishonor His Word?
Beloved, God takes His Sabbaths seriously. We often get caught up in work. God wants us caught by Him. And you may be surprised that God links our Sabbaths with how much He will prosper our sowing and reaping.
“When you come into the land that I give you, the land shall keep a Sabbath to the Lord. For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits, but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. You shall not reap what grows of itself in your harvest, or gather the grapes of your undressed vine. It shall be a year of solemn rest for the land.” Leviticus 25:2-5
Perhaps you’re wondering how the Israelites were supposed to survive a year without sowing and reaping. God anticipated your question and gave His answer in verses 20-21.
“And if you say, ‘What shall we eat in the seventh year, if we may not sow or gather in our crop?’ I will command my blessing on you in the sixth year, so that it will produce a crop sufficient for three years.”
Israel would work for six years and reap an average harvest. But when they rested in obedience to God, He would provide an abundance.
Oh, beloved. Isn’t that what our hearts yearn for? God’s own provision? I will command my blessing on you… a crop sufficient for three years.
When we trust God with Sabbath rests, people will witness Him. They’ll see God manifesting in ways He never could when we’re busy doing everything for Him. They’ll see a harvest that does not match our efforts, but instead surpasses it.
They’ll witness glory.
You see, beloved. Rest takes trust. It trusts that God will keep His Word and provide. It acknowledges that the harvest doesn’t rest on our shoulders, but on God’s.
But what happens if we refuse? What if we insist on working straight through His Sabbaths? God will remove us from our inheritance.
“And I will scatter you among the nations, and I will unsheathe the sword after you, and your land shall be a desolation, and your cities shall be a waste.”
“Then the land shall enjoy its Sabbaths as long as it lies desolate, while you are in your enemies’ land; then the land shall rest, and enjoy its Sabbaths. As long as it lies desolate it shall have rest, the rest that it did not have on your Sabbaths when you were dwelling in it.” Leviticus 26:33-35
God manifests through grace, and only humble faith taps into its generous flow. God invites us—has invited me—to trust Him with rest. The invitation once gently offered through a serving sister, “God says rest,” no longer surfaces and retreats. It resounds.
So I am tucking myself away with my God for a while, remembering the Sabbath, and doing all I know to keep it holy. You see, that second part remains the most important. We’re not to rest from God. He is our rest. In our Sabbaths, we visit with Him. He fills us. Nourishes us. Equips us to keep doing the work.
Jesus spoke of Sabbaths in Mark 2:27.
And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
I will be taking a break from sharing my Word on Wednesday for a bit—at least through the end of the year. We’ll see what God reveals to me in that time and if He releases me to resume in January. I smile inwardly, considering that this month will complete 6 years of official ministry and continual, weekly sowing. No detail goes unnoticed by God.
I invite you to pray for me. For healing. For discernment. For revelation. For rest.
I look forward to watching Him bring His harvest.