As a busy American…erm Texan, I tend to think of rest as something unnecessary. Who has time to rest when there is so much to do? How can I fit rest into my busy schedule? (except for my Sunday afternoon nap, of course.)
In studying and teaching Hebrews this past spring I came to a deeper understanding of the biblical concept of rest. The most obvious “rest” in the Bible is Sabbath rest, in which the 4th commandment (observe the Sabbath rest) is based on the example of God in Genesis 2:2 where God created the earth in 6 days and on the 7th he rested.
Sabbath rest is not just the only example of rest – a few more instances are found in the Bible:
- In the fall, God punishes Adam and Eve by making work difficult – thus the fall creates the need for rest.
- In Matthew 11:29 Jesus compares the burden of following the law to the rest that he offers.
- In Hebrews 4:1-13 the Israelite “Promised land” and Heaven are described as places of rest.
In preparing to teach Ruth for my Sunday Morning Bible Study class, “Unveiled“, I was surprised to see another example of rest – in this instance biblical rest is applied to the home.
Naomi brings rest home in both Ruth 1:9 and 3:1.
“But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, ‘Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!'” Ruth 1:9
“Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, ‘My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you?'” Ruth 3:1
For some the home is not a place of rest but a place of conflict and stress. For many more the home is a place of busyness – so much so that they are barely at their house.
As a father, I need to ensure that my home is a place of rest for everyone in my family. Therefore, for my wife, my expectations of her must allow the home to be a place of rest rather than burden.
For my kids, I need to make sure that the home is a place of rest rather than busyness. Far too often, in order to make sure our kids don’t miss out on certain activities we have them so busy that they miss out on what they need most – face time with their parents.
For the entire family, I need to make sure that my house is a place of peace rather than conflict including a place that when conflict occurs we are quick to seek forgiveness and quick to forgive. As a result, my house would be a place of rest.
Our spouses need our homes to be places of rest. Our kids need our homes to be places of rest. I need my home to be a place of rest. Therefore, I need to do everything I can – reduce busyness and increase forgiveness as just two examples – in order to make my home a place of rest.