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Tuesday: Defining Rest in the Old Testament — 7 Comments

  1. The Old Testament records a lot more about rest than just keeping the seventh day as a day of rest. Many of the festivals listed in the Torah were in fact "time out" events from work. What makes it interesting reading is that these festivals were intimately bound to helping others. I found this out when I did my study on tithing a few years ago Tithe in Israel - A Summary.

    The idea of associating rest with re-creation and sharing with others appears to be a value-added combination. Rest is not about doing nothing. Rather it is about sharing constructively.

  2. I commend the authors for introducing us to looking a little deeper into scripture than just skimming the surface as we read. Stopping instead along the way to unpack and reflect more deeply than we may have before.

    On Sunday, Inge invited that we go beyond ‘proof texting’ - which is an example of merely surface-reading of scripture. Below is a suggestion of how you might apply principles to actually begin/continue to do this.

    1) I invite you to write down the various dimensions of this thing called ‘Rest’ that the authors have started unpacking in today’s lesson. Maybe you might do your own digging to see if you come up with the same findings as the authors, or perhaps even further findings.

    2) Then take time to reflect on each dimension to get a sense of how that actually operates. What does it look and feel like when that happens? What does the opposite look and feel like?

    3) Then take time to consider what common characteristic/s underly all of these dimensions (perhaps like a core/hub that radiates outward in different directions; or a foundation that underpins many other elements that rise up from that foundation; or roots that give rise to the rest of the plant).

    What do you discover?

  3. For us to find true rest, we need inner peace, a peace offered by Jesus' Himself which comes about as a result of a close connection with Him who is called " The Prince of Peace"
    Peace is not absence from trouble but the presence of God in trouble. In Jeremiah 17:7,8, we find the blessedness of trusting the Lord. In Matthew 11 : 28 - 30, Jesus invites us to come unto Him and He will give us rest. This means that we must come to Him everyday to find rest and on the 7th Seventh day a 24 hour relationship shutting God in and shutting the World out. However, in verses 29 and 30, we have been invited to find rest for our souls when we take the yoke of Christ upon ourselves. E. G. White, commenting on this says: Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service of God supreme, will find perplexities vanish and a plain path before their feet. Ministry of Healing,page 481, paragraph 2.

  4. Since rest is not only physical, but social, mental, spiritual and psychological. Can we be working and still be resting at the same time? if yes, or no then why?

    • Lyn, that is an interesting question. As far as physical rest, I discovered that in Lev 23:1-44 there are two kinds of rest on the feast days. As I understand it no work to earn your living could be done on the feast days, but one could prepare food to eat, however no work of any kind could be done on the Sabbath.

      Servile work was defined during the second Temple to consist in building, pulling down edifices, weaving, reaping, threshing, winnowing, grinding, etc, whilst needful work which was allowed was killing beasts, kneading dough, baking bread, boiling, roasting, etc. literally, no work of labour, no work that belongs to one's worldly calling, such as labour in agriculture or handicraft

      How do we rest - socially, mentally, spiritually and psychologically those are big questions - which hopefully we will investigate in the rest of this quarter.

    • When I was still working, my jobs all involved mostly mental effort with no physical side to speak of. I found working at crafts (sewing, needlework, etc) to be extremely restful. It was a big change and allowed my brain to “switch off” a bit as I concentrated on what my hands were doing. I was actually working still, but at something different.

      Often a change is as good or better than lying around doing nothing.

  5. Our daily life will teach us the necessity of resting. A hike up a steep hill will teach anyone the absolute benefit of resting. Rest is as much a part of living as any activity we might take part in.

    Death is often referred to as a rest, from suffering, daily toil, care, etc. “for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest”(Eccl 9:10).

    If we know the truth concerning death, then there is no anxiousness as we or our loved ones approach the inevitable rest in the grave.


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