Rest and Burnout Series, parts 3 & 4 (re-post): The Sabbath & God Will Always Bless Your Rest by Graham Cooke

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(These are parts 3 & 4 of a series I did on rest and burnout in 2012.)

Part 3

The Day Off:  Understanding The Sabbath

So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. -Genesis 2:3 (ESV)

And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.  So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” -Mark 2:27-28 (ESV)

The sabbath or rest day was given to us, from the beginning, as a benefit, as in, "you get a full day off each week"; and it was so important that it made it into the top ten laws ( 4th of the 10 commandments).  By the time of Jesus life, the issue of sabbath keeping had gotten crazy and he had to get us back to God's original idea.

God's prescription for the well-being of his people, was for them to get a day of rest from their labors once a week..  Some Jewish people and Christians after them have made a tradition of worshiping on the sabbath, so much so, that in their thinking, worship services become the central point of the sabbath.  But worship, prayer, and fellowship are daily in the Bible.  Jesus made it his tradition or custom to attend services on his sabbath and did ministry, like healing people and casting out demons, while setting his hammer or chisel down.

God's original plan was for a set aside day of rest for his people.  Jesus refocused back to the original idea from God that the Sabbath was made for man.  His message was that the sabbath doesn't demand,  constrain, or punish, but is a gift to be enjoyed and experienced.

More details from The Bible:
  • We were designed to need rest from our labor(1).  
  • God rested on the seventh day and sanctified it after six days of creating(2).  
  • People who rest all the time, we call lazy(3).  
  • We are designed to be productive(4).  
  • The curse of the fall makes work painful(5), but it is meant to be enjoyable.  
  • The sabbath is so important in God's economy that he calls for the land to take a year off from being farmed every 7th year(6).
  • When we rest from our labors, we are humbling our selves and admitting that we are humans, submitted to God.  God is not mad at us, but God created order, and part of that order is that humans need rest.  When we rest by taking days off and time off from our productivity, we are acknowledging that, "God gives the increase"(7).  
  • God gives us the ability to prosper, but we must never forget to acknowledge God in our prosperity(8).

Bible references:  (CEB)

1. Deuteronomy 5:12-15

Keep the Sabbath day and treat it as holy, exactly as the Lord your God commanded:  Six days you may work and do all your tasks, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. Don’t do any work on it—not you, your sons or daughters, your male or female servants, your oxen or donkeys or any of your animals, or the immigrant who is living among you—so that your male and female servants can rest just like you.  Remember that you were a slave in Egypt, but the Lord your God brought you out of there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. That’s why the Lord your God commands you to keep the Sabbath day.

Exodus 20:8-11
 Remember the Sabbath day and treat it as holy. Six days you may work and do all your tasks, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. Do not do any work on it—not you, your sons or daughters, your male or female servants, your animals, or the immigrant who is living with you. Because the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them in six days, but rested on the seventh day. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

2. Genesis 2:2-3

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.
 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.

3. Proverbs 6:6-11

Go to the ant, you lazy person; observe its ways and grow wise.
The ant has no commander, officer, or ruler.
Even so, it gets its food in summer; gathers its provisions at harvest.
How long, lazy person, will you lie down? When will you rise from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to lie down—
and poverty will come on you like a prowler, destitution like a warrior.

4. Genesis 2:15

The Lord God took the human and settled him in the garden of Eden to farm it and to take care of it.

5. Genesis 3:17-19

To the man he said, “Because you listened to your wife’s voice and you ate from the tree that I commanded, ‘You will not eat from it,’cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you will eat from it every day of your life.
Weeds and thistles will grow for you, even as you eat the field’s plants;
by the sweat of your face you will eat bread— until you return to the fertile land,
since from it you were taken; you are soil, to the soil you will return.”

6. Leviticus 25:4

But in the seventh year the land will have a special sabbath rest, a Sabbath to the Lord: You must not plant your fields or prune your vineyards.

7. 1 Corinthians 3:7

 Because of this, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but the only one who is anything is God who makes it grow.

8. Deuteronomy 8:17-19
 Don’t think to yourself, My own strength and abilities have produced all this prosperity for me.  Remember the Lord your God! He’s the one who gives you the strength to be prosperous in order to establish the covenant he made with your ancestors—and that’s how things stand right now.  But if you do, in fact, forget the Lord your God and follow other gods, serving and bowing down to them, I swear to you right now that you will be completely destroyed.

Part 4

God Will Always Bless Your Rest: A Message By Graham Cooke

Graham Cooke:

"So in Genesis 2, by the seventh day, God completed his work which he had done and he rested on the 7th day from all his work he had done, and then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it he rested from all his work which God had created and made.

God will always bless your rest.


Since I learned rest, there has never been a time when God has not blessed that rest and honored that rest and sanctified my rest.

In other words, set aside peace for me; set aside rest for me.

So, for me, therefore, when God blesses something and sanctifies it and sets it apart; what that means is rest is always available as an absolute essential for life.

So, every circumstance you encounter already has rest in the issue.

No matter how hard, no matter how harsh, no matter how difficult, no matter how awful; every single circumstance has rest, because it's the one thing that God has blessed and sanctified, in terms of his relationship with you.

So, it's available always.

Ephesians 2:6, I think, is a mirror image of those verses in Genesis, when it says, "we have been raised up with him and seated together with him in heavenly places." The whole sense of being seated together is all about rest. When you sit down, you relax. You are in an attitude of rest. You are taking a weight off. You are taking a load off. You are sitting down, you are relaxed. Your whole mindset shifts when you sit. It's just that something comes to you. A peace comes to you. In the natural, something happens physically to your body when you sit. You relax, you rest. You have that moment. What's true in the natural is true in the spirit. To be seated is an attitude of rest.

Rest is physical, rest is emotional, and rest is mental and spiritual. It's the tangible expression of God's presence: rest.

In Exodus 13:14, God's promise to Moses was that, "my presence shall go with you and I will give you rest." We are not a people looking for the presence of God. We already have it. He is inside us. You can't get any more presence than that, inside you.

Anything that happens externally: fabulous bonus, but you don't actually need it. But it is a great bonus. Who doesn't want the physical tangible touch of God on their life.

....Here's the thing: If you practice rest, you'll feel the touch of God so much more.

If you practice rest, you'll hear his voice physically.

If you practice rest, you'll feel his breath; you'll feel his hand as a physical thing.

'Cause he is very tangible. All relationships have to be tangible. At some point, they have to touch, they have to connect, you know; that's a physical thing, it's an emotional thing.

And if you practice rest, you will feel the presence of God so much more strongly in your own life.

Now, rest is something that we receive. So we must be willing to allow rest to displace the opposite. And I think that's where we partner with God. You can't trust the Lord and be anxious. Because those two things are incompatible. They can't exist at the same space at the same time. One of them has to go and you get to choose.

Life in the spirit is we have been given this incredible freedom to choose what God is doing.

So, trust (or) anxiety? It's a no-brainer.


Choose what you're going to think. Choose what you are going to see. Choose how you are going to connect. You have the power and the freedom to choose. That's what Jesus died to give you.

We need to displace the opposite of rest. It's impossible to rest all the time that you are fearful, panic driven, full of anxiety or worry. Rest comes to displace any negative that may be trying to infiltrate your life.

Rest is a weapon and you need to see it as a weapon. Rest is a sword in your hand and you can put to death, you can put to the sword; anxiety, lack of peace, unrest, fear, and so on and so forth.

What does that look like to you, to see rest as a sword?   That you can cut away from your circumstance that thing that you don't need to affect you wrongly. This is a partnership here. Worry, anxiety, and fear are not going to go away by themselves. They need to be helped to leave the premises by themselves. They need some assistance. They need the left boot of fellowship. It's like, "see ya, don't want to be ya." You get them out, you push them away.

Rest is brilliant because if rest takes up residence, then a part of that rest is actually militant against the negative. Rest will go after the negative because you can't have those two things at the same time.  You are choosing to partner with rest. Rest is a gift, but then you have to work to partner with that gift and make it work. In other words, you have to learn to say no to a negative and rest helps you do that.

There is a principle of rest in all of life. In Leviticus 25:4-5, it talks about a sabbath rest and even also a year of rest. Rest is a really serious business in the kingdom. God gave us one day a week for rest. It's really important that you take one day a week for rest...

Leviticus 26:34-5 talks about how even the land needs rest...

God gave every creature the ability to sleep or rest, because rest is a key part of everything he is and everything he does. He only operates out of rest. He may get lots of urgent requests, but he only ever operates out of a place of rest.

That's why Jesus was the prince of peace and and he could say, "my peace be I give you", because peace is something to be guarded.

Peter the Apostle wrote that in his letter, "let the peace of God guard your heart".

So, rest is a sentry over your life. You put it at the entry point of your life. You put it at the gate of your life. Anything that wants to get in is going to have to get through peace.The job of peace is to keep negatives out there and never allow then in here.

You have to guard your inner territory and rest enables you to do that."

-Graham Cooke