DAILY DOSE OF HOPE – BLOG – NAIMA LETT
THE REST TEST
Did you know there was such a thing as a rest test?
Actually, there are 2 kinds. One deals with some sort of REST webservices. The other has to do with determining sleep patterns, overwork habits, stress and anxiety.
Apparently, rest ain’t easy.
We have insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy and all types of disorders with fancy names.
A few years back, when my husband was going through chemo, my rest patterns got all out of wack, and I could only sleep 4-5 hours a night. My doctor ordered me to go to a sleep clinic to determine which disorder I had. They hooked me up to wires, put some gooey stuff in my hair, and observed me sleeping throughout the night. The verdict was, drum roll please, I was stressed out.
But rest is not just about being able to sleep, though that’s part of it. The formal definition of rest is to “Cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.”
The key is “cease work” in order to “relax, refresh and recover”.
Do we have down time in our weeks where we cease work in order to refresh and recover?
I’ve got to be honest, Fam. I confess this is an area of struggle. I work hard. I work a lot.
I asked the question yesterday in the entry Is It Possible?: ‘Is it possible to go a whole day without iPhone, Blackberry, cell phone, internet or cyber communication in order to rest?’ The answer I received back was a resounding “NO!” Folks are not ready to unplug. Maybe on vacation. But not on a weekly basis.
Don’t feel bad.
God’s people, coming out of Egypt, struggle with rest too, especially when it comes to the sabbath observance. When God provides manna-what-is-it?-bread-food for them in the desert, He gives them instructions to keep the sabbath, but many of them still refuse to cease work.
God provides the ultimate REST TEST.
Read below or click:
EXODUS 16:4-5, EXODUS 16:22-30
4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction. 5 On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily”….
22 Now on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread… When all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, 23 then he said to them, “This is what the LORD meant: Tomorrow is a sabbath observance, a holy sabbath to the LORD. Bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.” 24 So they put it aside until morning, as Moses had ordered, and it did not become foul nor was there any worm in it. 25 Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field. 26 Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the sabbath, there will be none.” 27 It came about on the seventh day that some of the people went out to gather, but they found none. 28 Then the LORD said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My instructions? 29 See, the LORD has given you the sabbath; therefore He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Remain every man in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day.
The people of God grumble in the wilderness about being hungry. So, the Lord provides them with a “fine flake-like thing, fine as the frost”. They call it manna which means, “What is it?”
Part of God’s provision is that Israel can only gather enough manna for what they need on a daily basis. If they try to keep manna for 2 days, it spoils and gathers worms, except when they gather on the 6th day. On the 6th day, they are to gather twice as much because the 7th day is the Sabbath and they are supposed to rest and cease from work.
God reveals that all these instructions about the sabbath and rest are simply a test to see if His people will keep His commandments.
Do His people pass the test?
Not the first time.
What do they do on the seventh day, the sabbath? They go out to work and gather the manna, only to find that there is nothing there. God asks, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments?” Ouch!
How many times does it take us to pass the rest tests?
If we are Gentile followers of Christ, we’re obviously not Israel in the wilderness gathering manna and observing the sabbath in the same way. But there is a principle here that we don’t want to miss. As mentioned on yesterday, God makes the sabbath so important to His people that He commands it alongside “Do not kill”, “Do not steal”, “No other gods before me”. Exodus 20:8-11
The sabbath is so significant as a covenant between God and His people that folks who break it are to be put to death. Exodus 31:12-17: “15 For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the LORD; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death. 16 So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.’ 17 It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed.”
That’s pretty major, I’d say.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
So, why is it so important to God that His people rest on that 7th day? Why is it such a big deal? A couple of reasons. He says:
1) to keep His instructions
2) as a covenant between Him and Israel forever
This is about relationship.
God asks His people to take a complete rest day, holy to Him, because He Himself took a rest day after He made the world.
You know what blows me away? The end of Exodus 31:17 says the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day, He ceased from labor and was refreshed. If the Creator of the universe decided to take a day to be refreshed, surely I can find a way to do the same!
Which could be difficult in LaLa Land, I’m just saying.
Why? Because most of our world does not stop on “the sabbath”. There is still filming, auditions, meetings, business deals over golf at the Country Club. People have parties on Sunday morning. Artists I know are constantly being asked to work on Sundays. And guess what? I get it because I was too before I blocked out the time for service every Sunday.
We’re a long way from Eric Liddell, the 1924 Olympics and the 1981 Academy Award-winning film Chariots of Fire. Eric said NO to his original qualifying heat in order to honor the sabbath, and God honored him. But that was 88 years ago.
That’s why when I read Devon’s book (mentioned yesterday), I was floored. He was filming Karate Kid in China and when his sabbath started, he dipped from the set. He’s one of the people in charge, and he just left, turned off his Blackberry, and for 24 hours, turned his attention to God.
How does this sound to you?
Is anybody else intrigued?
Or does this all sound like gibberish?
Our Jewish fam are pros at it. I may reach out to some of our friends and get some tips.
Sounds like a challenge of biblical proportion to me!
To be continued,
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