In your fast-paced, stressed-out life, do you lack rest? Do you actually long for it? I do. There have been times when even a hospital stay has appeared attractive, simply because of the rest it would seem to afford.
But there is hope. It’s summertime, when traditionally the living should be easy–when life should kick back, shift gears and go at a more leisurely pace. It’s a time when many of us take vacations. But in my life, the only difference summer seems to make in my overloaded schedule is that it’s hot outside.
So as the summer turns into fall, I find myself looking over my shoulder wistfully, longing for the rest I haven’t had. I want to be really rested. Well rested. I need the kind of rest only God can give … the rest that the writer to the Hebrews described as being something of a trilogy, with three distinct parts:
Read Hebrews 4:1-11
The Example of Physical Rest
- Give a phrase from Hebrews 4:1-11 that refers to physical rest.
- Describe this physical rest from Genesis 2:1-3.
- Did God intend for His example to be a pattern for our lives? See Isaiah 58:13-14. What benefits result from the principle of setting aside one day in seven for physical rest and spiritual refocusing? Put them in your own words. How closely do you follow God’s example?
- Give phrases from the following verses that underscore this principle: Exodus 16:23, 23:12, 34:21; Leviticus 23:3.
- Give the phrase from Leviticus 16:31 that indicates that this principle transcends time and is in effect today.
- Make a list of what you are doing on Sunday that can be done Monday through Saturday. Some examples are shopping, housework, laundry, yard work, business calls, travel and e-mail. Transfer these activities to another day of the week and reserve Sunday for physical rest and spiritual refreshment.
The Experience of Physical Rest
- The Ark of the Covenant that led the children of Israel through the wilderness signified God in their midst. Keeping this in mind, what do you learn from Numbers 10:33?
- Give phrases from the following verses that reveal God’s intention for physical rest to be not only a theory, but an experience: Joshua 1:13, 21:44; 1 Kings 8:56; 2 Chronicles 14:6; Psalm 23:1-2; Jeremiah 31:2; Mark 6:31.
- How much time have you made for physical rest during the past week, the past month and the past year?
- Are you physically exhausted because you’re working 24/7 and not following God’s example?
- What will you do to build times of physical rest into your life so that it is not just a longing or a need but an actual experience?
It’s possible to go on the most relaxing, refreshing vacation we’ve ever experienced, yet return only partially rested because, although our bodies are relaxed, our spirits are weary. We need spiritual rest.
- How does Proverbs 6:9-11 indicate that physical rest alone is insufficient and can actually be detrimental if not balanced with hard work?
- Give phrases from Hebrews 4:1-11 that refer to spiritual rest.
- How is spiritual rest related to physical rest? See Psalm 4:8.
- What other words for spiritual rest can you think of? See John 14:27, Philippians 4:11-12 and Jeremiah 31:25.
- What are some things we must do to experience spiritual rest? See Philippians 4:6-9 and Psalm 119:165.
- From each of the following verses, describe one aspect of spiritual rest: Exodus 33:14; Deuteronomy 12:10, 33:12; 2 Chronicles 15:15; Psalm 62:5, 91:1, 116:7; Proverbs 19:23; Jeremiah 6:16; Matthew 11:28-29.
- Just as lack of physical rest can make us tired and irritable, give characteristics of the lack of spiritual rest from Jeremiah 45:1-5; Habakkuk 2:4-5; Isaiah 57:20-21; Ecclesiastes 2:23, 5:10.
- What is the primary reason you and I don’t enter into spiritual rest? See Hebrews 3:19.
- What can you do to avoid being spiritually weary, even though you are physically rested? See 1 Peter 3:8-12.
- How much of an effort are you making “to enter that rest”? See Hebrews 4:11.
Evangelist Henry Drummond said that rest “is not a hallowed feeling that comes over us in church. It is … the repose of a heart set deep in God.” Do you need spiritual rest? Rest from the self-effort of trying to please God? Rest from plotting revenge? Rest from manipulating people or circumstances to get your way? Rest from worry, fear, anger or self-pity? Are you wearily wandering in the wilderness of self-reliance instead of totally surrendering to the authority of Christ–where you can enter the Promised Land of God’s full blessing and rest in Him alone?
One day all of our burdens will be laid down and all of our strivings will cease–when we enter into eternal rest.
- Give phrases from Hebrews 4:1-11 that refer to eternal rest.
- How do the following verses also point to eternal rest? Job 3:17, Isaiah 57:2 and Revelation 14:13.
- From Revelation 21:3-5, list some of the characteristics of eternal rest. Put each of them in your own words.
- What phrase from Hebrews 4:1-11 indicates that you will not be truly well rested until you enter your heavenly home?
Before summer ends, take time and make the decision to be well rested. Follow God’s example by building into your schedule a time for physical rest and refreshment. Re-examine the conditions for spiritual rest and make sure you meet each one.
Then relax and look forward to going some day to your heavenly Father’s House where you will experience the eternal rest He is preparing for you.
Need a Place to Rest?
The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove is the perfect place to get away from the demands and pressures of everyday life and get alone with God. Walk or jog along a marked trail system, which weaves through mountains, forests and streams. For information about upcoming seminars and accommodations visit The Cove website »
Another great spot to visit as summer ends is The Billy Graham Library. Historic backdrops alternate with multimedia theaters to show events and milestones of Billy Graham’s lifelong mission–telling others about the love of Christ.