TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep. (Psalms 127:2 NKJV)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Last week, I wrote about “The Gift of Work,” and today will be about “The Gift of Rest.” As I admitted last week, I don’t rest very well. I have a perpetual need to feel busy. But a few months ago, I got very serious about setting the boundary for honoring the Sabbath. It was time I was hesitant to give up, though I knew I needed to in order to be obedient. I work full time and also run my own business, so I didn’t think I had the time to spare. But God is faithful… I’ve found that by honoring the Sabbath, I am far more productive, and I haven’t missed those hours on Sundays.
As we talked about last week, God made the Sabbath for man, not man for the Sabbath (per Jesus in Mark 2:27). And we are to honor it (Exodus 20:8-11).
He knows we need rest. Our Creator, who knit each of us together (Psalm 139:13), knows us better than we know ourselves. While He is limitless, we are limited. While He is infinite, we are finite. While He is strong, we are weak. And we need rest — physically, yes. Mentally, yes. But mostly, we need spiritual rest found only in our Savior. The rest we’re commanded to have is more than just having a day to do nothing. It’s a time of reflection on who God is and our dependence on Him.
Consider the Psalm by Solomon in which we read, “It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep” (Psalms 127:2 NKJV).
What is the Bread of Sorrows? It is anything we are doing apart from the Lord. It’s the angst and worry that we build up when we are trying to live independently away from God.
If we go to Haggai 1:6, we read, “You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”
That is essentially the bread of sorrows. That is the result of self-reliance — nothing is ever enough. We are perpetually chasing the wind. But God commanded us to rest — to have a Sabbath — so we can reflect on Him and all He has done for us and all He has provided. It’s in this time of rest that we build our dependence and reliance on Him!
For this reason, God told the Israelites to gather manna on five days, a double portion on the sixth, and none on the seventh (Exodus 16:14-30). The manna would spoil if they tried to gather too much on Days 1-5 but would be fine for two days when they doubled their portion on Day 6 in anticipation of the Sabbath. It was a lesson in trust for the Lord’s provision and their dependence on Him. We may not be gathering manna, but we need to learn the same lessons.
But like the Israelites of centuries past, too often, we think we know better. Just as I excused my habit of working on Sundays because I thought I knew better… it all boils down to pride — the very pride that made Eve believe she could make a decision apart from God, which ultimately resulted in sin being brought into the world (Genesis 3). As someone wise once said, “Times may change, but people don’t.” We are still trying to gather the manna on the Sabbath because we think we can be independent of God.
And that’s far from the truth. We are completely dependent on Him. Every breath we take is due to God’s goodness — He fashioned our lungs, gave our bodies the ability to breathe in and out, and provided the oxygen! If we depend on Him for the air we need, then we need to depend on Him for our rest, too. He wants us to fully depend on Him for our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. And in His goodness, He’s invited us to do that.
Let’s revisit the last part of Psalm 127:2: “For so He gives His beloved sleep.” I love the way my commentary explained this: “…if we are really yielded to the Lord and living for his glory, He can give us gifts while we are sleeping which we could never obtain through long, weary hours of labor without Him.”
Only our good, gracious Heavenly Father can do that.
Today, as you pray, thank God for rest. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you rest well, and reflect on all God does for you. Ask Him to keep your heart humble and free from pride so that you can be fully rested in Him, trusting in Him for all you need — whether you are working or at rest.
SHARING ••• My Grace-Full Life is written by Denise Heidel. You are welcome to share anything I write, but please credit my writing and graphics accordingly. Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. Subscribe through my website to have My Grace-Full Life delivered to your email. You can unsubscribe at any time. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the NKJV translation.