The English rendering for the [Hebrew] word shabat as ‘rest’ can be a little misleading. It is not to rest to regain your strength; it is to cease from your activity… — Chaim Bentorah, Hebrew Word Study: A Hebrew Teacher Finds Rest in the Heart of God
There’s football, and then there’s football. Same word, but depending upon where you are in the world, only one matters.
We could say, then, that there’s rest, and then there’s rest.
Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’” And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. (Hebrews 4:3)
What sort of rest are we given through Christ? It’s Sabbath rest—the rest God entered after creating the world.
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen this before, but it’s fascinating. If you turn to Genesis 1, in the creation account there is a recurring phrase that closes out each day of creation:
And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. (Genesis 1:5) And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. (Genesis 1:8) And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. (Genesis 1:13) And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. (Genesis 1:19) And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. (Genesis 1:23) And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1:31)
With each new day, God created something totally different. He never backtracked. By the seventh day, God had finished His work.
Do you know what phrase doesn’t appear after this seventh day? Scripture doesn’t say that there was evening and there was morning, the seventh day.
Instead, we are told, By the seventh day, God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work (Genesis 2:2).
Following the work of creation, God started resting and has yet to stop. He lives in a perpetual state of resting. This is Sabbath rest, and this is the rest we enter into as believers. It’s a rest that never ends.
Lord, If I’m honest, a rest that never ends sounds impossible for a person who lives by calendars and to-do lists! I cease my striving and anticipate this new way of resting in You. Amen.