Rev. Dr. Mary S. Minor (File photo)

Scripture – Psalm 37:1-7a, NKJV

We must learn to rest. Rest is just as important as movement. We must learn to live free from activity.

I’m not suggesting we become lazy. Lazy is just doing nothing. Resting is consciously choosing to pause from one’s work. Rest is about the journey. Laziness has no journey.

There are seven types of rest: physical (body) rest, mental (mind) rest, emotional (soul) rest, sensory rest, creative rest, social rest, and spiritual rest.

Spiritual rest is the most important, but all forms of rest are necessary. Spiritual rest allows the body, mind and soul to recharge. Spiritual rest is achieved by pausing sensory, creative, and social activities. Spiritual rest is resting in the Lord.

When we rest in the Lord, we deepen our relationship with him. We increase our dependence on the Lord for both material and spiritual provisions. Glorifying God should be the central aspect of both our work and our rest. God promises that if we turn to him for rest, he will restore our souls.

Related Links:

Psalm 37 is a psalm of David.  David described the birthright of believers and the misery of the wicked. He wrote that spiritual rest is the heritage of the righteous.

David gave a directive in verse 1:  Don’t fret (worry or become vexed) because of the wicked.

Don’t suffer mental or emotional strain because of bad folk. Don’t become envious of those doing wrong.

Here’s the reason why in verse 2: They will soon be destroyed and non-existence.

Instead, here’s what you should do (verses 3-5): trust in the Lord, do good, live in the land, produce faithfulness (to the Lord), enjoy the Lord, and commit our way to the Lord!

This is how God responds when you do this: God gives you your hearts desires. God acts on your behalf. God makes your righteousness shine. God makes your justice shine.

When you do your part, God responds favorably on your behalf.  Then you can rest in the Lord!

You’ll be worry free!

Are you doing your part? Maybe that’s the reason why you can’t find rest? Some of you have insomnia — physical, mental, emotional and spiritual restlessness. So, let talk about the cure to restlessness.

Point 1: God Rested

The Creator, himself, rested in the beginning. In six days, God created the world and humanity.

Then, God rested.

He shaped and structured the earth. He made light — daytime and nighttime. That was the first day — and God said, “It was good.”

God separated the vapors and created the sky above and the oceans below. That was the second day — and God said, “It was good.”

God gathered the water into oceans and seas so that dry land would appear on the earth.  At God’s word, the earth burst forth with every sort of grass and seed-bearing plant, and fruit trees with seeds inside the fruit. That was the third day — and God said, “It was good.”

God gave light to the earth to identify day and night, seasons, days and years. He made the sun, moon and stars. That was the fourth day — and God said, “It was good.”

God put fish and other life in the seas and birds of every kind in the sky to multiply and fill the earth. That was the fifth day — and God said, “It was good.”

God populated the land with every kind of wild animals and cattle and reptiles.  Then the Triune God (the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit) made a man — someone like themselves — to manage the earth, the skies and the seas (Genesis 1:26-27).

They made man from the dust of the ground, breathed the breath of life (the Holy Spirit) into man’s body, and the man became a living person. God gave man a helper — woman. She came from the man’s rib.

God casted Adam in a deep sleep, out of whom came Eve culminating creation.  God blessed them to multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. That was the sixth day — and God said, “It was good.”

By the seventh day, God’s creative work was finished, and God stopped working and rested. Then God said, “It is very good.” God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy.

We just read it in the Decalogue, Exodus 20:8-11:

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

God rested! If God rested, we must follow God’s example.  Do the work, stop and rest, because rest is an act of faith in the Lord! Rest is a gift from God.

Point 2: Jesus Rested

Mark 4:38 (and the parallel texts, Matthew 8:24 and Luke 8:23) says, “Jesus was asleep.”

Jesus was asleep at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion in the middle of a storm on the sea. Some would think that Jesus must have been extremely exhausted — dead tired, knocked out— because of his ability to sleep through the storm.

But the truth is Jesus was not worried by the winds and the wave. He was the master of the seas. He made them, and they obeyed his command, “Peace! Quiet down!” And the wind fell, and there was a great calm!

If God gave us dominion over creation, why can’t we control our surroundings? Why can’t we rest? Why are we so restless?

Some of our physical ailments are our internal organs telling us to rest. Mental health is the brain signaling the mind to rest. Our bodies signal us when it needs rest.

But we blow through and ignore the signals like a car speeding through a yellow cautionary traffic light, and we crash and burnout.

We must learn to rest. Take a Sabbath. Spend time in prayer, reading scripture, in worship and in nature. Repetition can bring restoration.

Point 3: The Benefits of Rest

David wrote in Psalm 23:2-3, “The Lord lets me rest in the meadow grass and leads me beside the quiet streams.  He gives me new strength. He restores my failing health. He helps me do what honors him the most.

When we spend time in the presence of the Lord in prayer and fasting, we are restored. Physical rest declutters the mind and allows mental rest to happen.

Silence the noice around you to get sensory rest. Turn off the television and the radio. Stop reading Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (X) and TikTok. Give your eyes and ears a rest.

David was a prolific musician.  Even in his music, he built in “rest.”  Some say when you come to the word “Selah,” you should pause, rest, and listen in the silence. There are meaningful messages in silence.

After a good period of rest, you can think clearly, stay focus, be mentally tough. You are recharged, refilled, reset, regenerated, renewed, revived, restored, relaxed, recuperated, rejuvenated, recenter, and ready to go, again, so you can better serve God and others!

Resting is intentional. Quiet your heart before the Lord. Be still. Be calm. Wait patiently on the Lord! Actively listen for the Lord’s voice and accurately obey it!

My soul finds rest in the Lord (Ps. 62:1)

“Let’s get away from the crowds for a while and rest” (Mark 6:31).

Jesus was tired and sat wearily beside Jacob’s well in Samaria after a long walk in the hot sun (John 4:6).

Jesus came that you may have an abundant life (John 10:10).

Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy burden, and I will give you rest. Put on My yoke and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Let the Lord have all your worries and cares, for the Lord is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you (1 Peter 5:7).

Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a day made for your benefit — rest from daily labors, allowing spiritual, mental, and physical restoration. Jesus’ ways are far better than any man-made regulations. Jesus gives true rest.

A time is coming when your earthly labor will come to rest. Your work down here will be over. You will come to rest from your labor. If you are a believer in God through Jesus Christ, you will gain eternal rest. Until that day comes, rest knowing that one day you will reign with Jesus Christ! Revel in the cross!

In the name of Jesus, I rest my case! Amen!