Tag Archive | Rest

Rest For Your Souls

Are you weary and tired?

Come to Jesus for rest.

Jeremiah 6:16 (ESV) Thus says the Lord: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

Psalms 116:7-9 (ESV)
7 Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
8 For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling;
9 I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.

Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

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Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

A few days ago I was reading through the book of Matthew to see what Jesus said or did about the Sabbath.  While I could simply search for the word Sabbath in my Bible program that isn’t quite the same as actually reading the text and getting the full context of the passages.

So I had read lots of chapters in Matthew and was beginning to wonder why I wasn’t coming across any real discussion of the Sabbath from Jesus nor even any accusations of breaking the Sabbath.  As many people know the book of Matthew was written with a Jewish audience in mind, so of the gospels the book of Matthew deals more with the Laws and customs of Jews.

It wasn’t until the beginning of the 12th chapter of Matthew that I ran across the Sabbath in a discussion.   As expected Jesus has appeared to break the Sabbath, his disciples have picked grain and then Jesus healed a man.  No surprise there, this is a regular occurance.

Matthew 12:1-14 (ESV)
1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.”
3 He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him:
4 how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests?
5 Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless?
6 I tell you, something greater than the temple is here.
7 And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.
8 For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
9 He went on from there and entered their synagogue.
10 And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”— so that they might accuse him.
11 He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out?
12 Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other.
14 But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.

But as always you should read the passages before and after a selection of verses in order to get the full context.  {Remember chapter breaks and verse numbers were added by man.  The Geneva Bible was the first English Bible to use chapter and verses.}

So what do I find just before the accusations of Sabbath breaking?

REST!

This isn’t talking about the seventh day rest either.  This is the real, true and everlasting rest that only Jesus can give us.   This isn’t the temporary rest of one day; this is the eternal rest of the soul.

Matthew 11:25-30 (ESV)
25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children;
26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

The weekly Sabbath rest of the Jews was a picture of the real, spiritual, eternal, Sabbath Rest provided by Jesus.



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Sabbath – What Did It Mean To Israel?

Before we look at Jesus and the Sabbath we need to point out a few details about the Jewish Sabbath.

There are many verses in Exodus through Deuteronomy which explain and itemize what is acceptable of the Sabbath. Such as the following verse.  Notice also that the phrase becomes a “Sabbath of Rest” many times.

Exodus 35:2-3 (KJV)
2 Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.
3 Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.

Many of the verses that follow are using the term Sabbath to refer to a particular day of the week.

Then we start running into the phrases like “on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts” (2 Chronicles 2:4, Isaiah 1:13, 2 Kings 4:23, Hosea 2:11) which essentially are lumping all of Israel’s special day celebrations together.

But we need to remember that the weekly Sabbath was not a day of worship.  The Sabbath was a day of rest.  Most people would not have been close enough to walk the distance to the temple or even a synagogue for any worship.  The Sabbath was typically spent at home eating the foods prepared the day before.  No cooking, lighting of fires nor walking a distance was allowed.

Exodus 16:29 (ESV) See! The Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Remain each of you in his place; let no one go out of his place on the seventh day.”  

A few more interesting details:

The Sabbath is not used in the Psalms of David.  However, Psalm 92 is written for the Sabbath.  Many Bibles note that Psalm 92 is “A Psalm or Song for the Sabbath day.”  But the Psalms themselves don’t say anything about the Sabbath. 

The Book of Proverbs never mentions the Sabbath.

Then we get to the books where the Israelites are breaking the Sabbath and being rebuked for it, such as Nehemiah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah.  Rebuke after rebuke for breaking the Sabbath and not following the Lord’s commands.  The Israelites are punished and restored repeatedly for breaking the Sabbath and for not following the Sabbath commands.  Prophecy after prophecy of what will happen if the Israelites continue to break the commands.



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What is the Sabbath?

First mention of a Sabbath is in Genesis, right?

Genesis 2:1-3 (KJV)
1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

But let us not assume anything, but look clearly at what the Scripture says.

First of all despite the fact that many Bibles have topic headings that say “Sabbath”, “First Sabbath”, or something similar, notice what word is missing from the text.  Sabbath.

However, this verse is referenced several times later in Scripture as the basis for the Sabbath given to the Israelites.

Also the root word for “rest” is a similar word to the word Sabbath.  “Shabath” meaning to celebrate,  put away, cease, or rest.  The word for the Sabbath is “shabbath” meaning intermission, translated as Sabbath in the KJV.

The first mention of the actual word “Sabbath” is in Exodus when the Lord is instructing the Israelites about the manna.

Exodus 16:23-29 (KJV)
23 And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.
24 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.
25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field.
26 Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.
27 And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.
28 And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?
29 See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.

Exodus 16:23 is literally “shabat shabaatown” – Sabbath the rest of.

This is the first Sabbath for the Israelite slaves.  But they did not all obey.  Some still went out to gather manna on the Sabbath but found none.



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