Entering the
SABBATH REST OF GOD

 

Moses said in Exodus 33:15 (KJV),
“If Your presence does not go with us, lead us not up from here.”
The Lord said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.”

 

 

God worked six days creating the earth and on the seventh day He rested. I don’t believe these were 24-hour days. There was no sun or moon to distinguish the day from the night, and no earth. I believe it meant ‘a period of time’. “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” 2 Peter 3:8. God is not limited by time, which was created when the earth, sun, moon and stars were put in place for the benefit of mankind. I believe He is still at work creating. After His rest, He got back to work. He rested, not because He was tired, but because He was setting a precedent for us. Sabbath means Rest. God knew mankind needed a time of rest and renewal. When God chose Israel as His special people to demonstrate His love and care for mankind, He gave them a set of rules to live by for their benefit and well being. He knew full well they would not be able to fulfill these laws completely. That’s why the Bible says Jesus was there from the beginning, and His role in saving us was set before the foundation of the earth. [John 17:24.] He was the ONLY man capable of fulfilling ALL the commandments without fail. He only gave us two commandments–to love God with all that we are, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. [Mark 12:30-31.] If we do these two things, we fulfill all the Ten Commandments. The Bible says that when we come to Him, He begins to write His laws in our hearts [Hebrews 8:10], which makes us able to fulfill them without fail.

The Jews set aside Saturday as the Sabbath according to God’s Commandment to spend it in worshiping God. They made lots of rules about what they could or could not do. No work was allowed, they could not walk more than half a mile; they could not cook. Their regulations filled books, and they became masters at finding reasons that their particular circumstances were exceptions to the rules. When Christ came and fulfilled all the law, on the cross He said, “It is finished.” The people, who accepted Him as the Messiah or Savior sent from God, decided to spend Sunday as their day of worship to distinguish themselves from the Jews, and because Sunday was the day Jesus was resurrected. There are some Christians who still observe Saturday as the Sabbath, or day of rest and worship. They are called Seventh Day Adventists, and they follow many of the Jewish laws.

To me the Sabbath is when we as Christians cease doing our own works and enter the Rest of God where we allow Him to use us to do His work without us getting in the way with our own efforts. God has a plan. His plan is better than anything we could ever come up with. You want to make God laugh? Tell Him YOUR plans. He doesn’t want us to ‘work for Him.’ He wants to have a body of people on the earth who will allow Him to make the plans and do the work through them. He wants us to remain in that place of Rest so that we are available to Him.

Jesus is the head of the body, which is a company of people on the earth who have given everything they are or ever hope to be to God. The head is where the thinking and planning occur. One name the Bible uses for this company of people is the church. Unfortunately, the organization known as the church today is not all it should be. That’s why God says judgment will begin at the house of the Lord (that’s us).

There comes a time in the Christian walk when we get above the fray. Each thing we overcome lifts us higher up God’s holy mountain until we rise up above the kingdom of Satan (which Adam yielded to him through sin) and reside by right in the kingdom of God (walking in the Spirit). “The Lord God is my strength, and He will make my feet like Hinds’ Feet. And He will make me to walk upon mine High Places.” Habakkuk 3:19. The fray is still going on below, but we are no longer participants. Satan no longer has a place to stand (flesh) in our lives from which to attack us. [“Neither give place to the devil.” Ephesians 4:27.] This is the Sabbath of rest that we are admonished to enter. “For we which have believed do enter into rest,” Hebrews 4:3. “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” Hebrews 4:11. God labored six days and on the seventh He rested. When we have labored our six (number of flesh) days to overcome the things in our lives that are not Christ like (which does not mean that we are perfect in the human sense, but that we are malleable in God’s hand), it is time to enter our rest, which allows God to do his work through us without our getting in the way. “Therefore it shall come about when the LORD your God has given you rest from all your surrounding enemies, in the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek [flesh] from under heaven; you must not forget.” Deuteronomy 25:19.

This does not mean that we are ‘better’ than anyone else. It just means that He now has a clean, yielded vessel that he can use. It does not mean that we never again do anything wrong. It just means that the dirt we accumulate through use is on the surface and easily washed off. Now we can “stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD” [Exodus 14:13] as He fights our battles for us. He is the one who calls us. He is the one who cleans us up. He is the one who guides us into all righteousness. “And they departed from the mount of the LORD three days’ journey: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them in the three days’ journey, to search out a resting place [Sabbath] for them.” Numbers 10:33. [Three is the number of completion. God is in three persons—Father, Word, and Holy Spirit–but is one God. 1 John 5:7. A three-legged stool can stand. A threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12.]

When we eat from “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” (Genesis 2:9 & 17) we try to determine which actions, events, people, etc., are ‘good’ and which are ‘evil.’ We are not equipped to make that determination. When Adam ate from that tree, he brought judgment upon himself. (“…for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:17.) He did not die physically at that time, but the spirit in him that enabled him to have communion with God died, and the light that clothed him, which is the glory of God, went out, so that he knew he was now naked and afraid; and he was driven out of the garden. God designed us to eat from the Tree of Life, which is total dependence on him for every area of life, including deciding what is good or evil in our lives. We should accept everything that comes to us as from the hand of God, with thanksgiving and joy, knowing that He is able to keep us in every circumstance. “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4, not just when we are happy or when we think something is ‘good’, but always.

A turning point came for me when I realized that, if I were standing on Ground Zero of a nuclear explosion, when the dust settled, if it were God’s will, I would still be standing there without a scratch on me. (Remember the fiery furnace in Daniel 3.) HE IS ABLE TO KEEP ALL THAT WE PUT IN HIS CARE. That includes ourselves, our families, our finances, our health, in short, everything that pertains to us.

A time came in my walk when God spoke to my heart that I would still go through fiery trials, but I would no longer be disturbed by them. Since then there has been a peace and serenity in my life beyond explanation. At times I realize that I am under attack, but I am in a transparent bubble. I can see the attack, but I don’t feel it. As soon as I realize what there is in my life that is allowing the attack and give it to God, that attack ceases.

There are two books I read years ago that gave me great insight into this, even though at the time I could not walk in it–Hinds’ Feet on High Places and Mountain of Spices by Hannah Hurnard. I believe they are still available in bookstores. These books gave me a goal to work toward and a knowledge that it is possible to enter into that Sabbath Rest where I ‘go with the flow’ of the Holy Spirit and allow him to use me as a conduit of His love to a broken and hurting world.

I still set goals and make plans, but I hold them very loosely. When situations come up or opportunities arise, I don’t insist that my goals be met first. God’s way is better, and amazing things happen when I “let go and let God” move in my life.

Labor to enter in. Our labor is to work to overcome our own shortcomings and failures and how we feel about the shortcomings and failures of others. We should not look at others for how to live, but only at Jesus Christ. He is our example and pattern for living. He is the one who calls us. He is the one who finishes the job. Yield to Him and enter your rest.

GOD IS ABLE! PUT HIM TO THE TEST.
December 26, 2007