3rd Quarter: REST IN CHRIST
Lesson 1 Living in a 24-7 Society
Tuesday: Defining Rest in the Old Testament
Text: [[2Sa 7:12]] BSB
_And when your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom._
The concept of rest, for some strange reason appears to be offensive to some today. In the corporate world, to rest is almost synonymous to being lazy. It’s misconstrued that you can’t stop working and be successful. In the religious context, some Christians aren’t much comfortable with the same idea because it comes with the natural thought that one is pointing to the Sabbath (Saturday), which they are to observe. Though this is an important rest instituted by God, the old testament presents the idea of rest in a more broader range.
The OT defines or uses the term to describe several aspects of human existence. At the end of the creation week, God instituted _shabbat_, which means “to cease work, to rest, to take a holiday,” this is the verb form of the noun “Sabbath.” In Exodus 5:5, the same verb is varied to denote “making someone rest” from their work. In the Sabbath law, the term used is _nuakh_ (Exod. 20:11, Deut. 5:14) which means “rest” or figuratively “settled,” as used in Job 3:13. Another variation of the term is _”shaqat”_, which means to “be at rest, grant relief, be quiet.” The verb _”shakab”_ means “to lie down, sleep.” This is use in the Bible to describe the rest that God’s people find in death (this in no way teaches consciousness after death).
The OT uses different Hebrew words to describe rest that captures not just one traditional idea. According to the OT, there are rests that were required not because one is tired but because you are done (to cease), there are those that come naturally because you have peace of mind (to be at rest even while working), there are those that describe a state of being, and there are those that are necessary because of exhaustion (rejuvenation). All these are important and help us to have a broader view of the concept. This sets the tone for this quarter’s lesson. We’re not to limit ourselves to one type of rest, but to explore all the avenues which God has given for us to REST IN HIM.
Death is certainly an enemy and will one day be abolished. And however much we mourn and miss our dead, why is it comforting to know that, at least for now, they are at rest?