I assume we would all agree yesterday was a “day of rest” of sorts. It was a snow day, all work and school was canceled. There were no plans and we were able to rest. I love a good snow day, but we need rest a little more often than just snow days. In fact, I know that at Snow Camp Jordan and Aaron attended this year, they also talked about the importance of rest.
In Leviticus today, we are on a section where God is laying out some specifics about rest for the land. In Old Testament times, God was very clear that the people were to let their fields “rest” every 7th year. They were not to plant them or harvest them. God called this the “sabbath” of the land. Later, in verse 6, after spelling out that they were not to work the land, God assures His people the land will provide. In other words, there would be enough. As I read this, I realized this would require a great amount of trust from the Israelites. The closest equivalent I can think of is asking dad to work 6 years, and every 7th year, to not work, trusting God would provide for us. God has NOT told dad (or us) to do that, but I think the trust factor would be the same. It is easy for us to read the part about God mandating taking a rest, but I see that trusting God DURING the rest is also part of this.
We do not observe a formal Sabbath today, neither weekly nor in terms of our work, and that in and of itself is something to consider. At the very least, we do know we need rest. At the pace our world pushes us, it will not come naturally, just as it did not for the Israelites. Something else to consider though is how rest and trust in God may be connected. God told his people to rest the 7th year AND He would provide. The purpose was to focus on God, his provisions, what He had given the people and who He was as their God. Trust was required that this God of theirs could be trusted to provide. It required a knowledge and close relationship with their God. It would actually require them to give up a “love of money”, I think in some ways, because no sowing, no reaping, also meant no income. It would force them to NOT depend on finances as the “rock” they were standing on. I might go so far as to say our ability to truly rest is hinged on our trust in God. If we do not fully trust God, we will never be able to truly find rest.
If we find rest difficult, maybe it is time to consider if we do trust God, or if instead, we are mistakenly trusting in something else? Can we set aside time to be with God during the week? Why not? Do we not trust Him? Do we not care? Do we think we can provide all that we really need and He can not or will not? I challenge all of us to decide if we will set aside at least 1 hour this week as a time of rest and to purpose to focus on God. Make time to concentrate on how He has provided for us. Pray for stronger trust in Him and that He will guide and provide for us in the future.. If you don’t know what to do, read Lev. 25 to start. Read this article by J.D. Greear which includes good suggestions on practicing a sabbath: 4 Ways to Win the Battle Against Busyness. Find a solid youtube video or podcast that speaks to a sabbath rest or trust in God. Take this a little more seriously. Your own trust in God and peace of mind could hinge on it. Snow days are too few and far between to just count on them as our only “day of rest”!