Day 1 – Rest and Shalom
By: Brian Crenshaw
Take a brief moment in your journal or your thoughts, and create or describe your perfect day. Describe or create a day or a moment when all things are as they should be.
For me, things are as they should be, or the world feels right when I am at the beach with my family watching them play, then followed by a bike ride to get ice cream, and we watch the sunset while laughing, talking, praying and just being together. For me, this is when the world feels right when it feels like it should be. I’m with the people I love most, in a place I love most doing fun things (ice cream/bikes) while then seeing God’s beauty in nature.
Another similar time for me is at student ministry camp where we have played all day at the beach, swam, cleaned ourselves up and walked down to the beach to see 100 students from all different backgrounds playing, taking pictures, laughing, then huddling under a makeshift chapel of lights to sing to God.
These are moments that I get few of but always feel the phrase “this is what life is about.”
The Bible has a term for this feeling called “Shalom.” The meaning of shalom is more than one word. It carries the idea of peace…harmony…prosperity…
So, what does shalom have to do with rest?
As we explore rest, we need to realize that much of our tiredness comes not from physical work but an emotional and spiritual lack of peace. Sometimes we can be well rested physically but very tired due to a lack of order or shalom in our lives. Real rest comes from true peace, not just sleep. True peace comes from knowing Jesus and knowing who we are in him and not the absence of non-peaceful things. Sometimes we can be busy with school or cheer or soccer or basketball or cutting lawns or band or running a household or doing laundry or seeing patients or teaching school, but still feel rested. Surprisingly, we can often feel rested when we are using physical energy because the rest we are experiencing is not just physical by nature.
As we press into Day 1, please answer the following questions.
Am I at peace?
What is the most non-peaceful thing in my world right now?
How can I ask others for help in these situations?
What would stop me from telling others my needs in this?
Am I experiencing shalom?
Well, sin grips our world and makes it a world that isn’t as it should be. We see glimpses of what heaven is like here on earth, but for most of our lives, we live in a broken world that isn’t how it should be. The Gospel, literally the “Good News”, provides us with hope for shalom. Not just as an idea but as a person in Jesus. And not just a moment of shalom but an eternity of it.
Have you ever thought about Jesus as your rest? That can be a hard concept to grasp… that my life isn’t going well, and I am supposed to look to the person who claims to be God that lived 2000 years ago to help me with my friend drama, my career struggles, parenting, finances, dating, school pressure, and navigating a busy schedule? Is this is the way I am supposed to feel more rest and peace and shalom?
Take a moment to write out how this makes you feel and what questions you may have?
The following is a commentary from parts of the Bible that talk about the Sabbath and Jesus being our rest….
“Jesus can be our Sabbath rest in part because He is ‘Lord of the Sabbath’ (Matthew 12:8). As God incarnate, He decides the true meaning of the Sabbath because He created it, and He is our Sabbath rest in the flesh. When the Pharisees criticized Him for healing on the Sabbath, Jesus reminded them that even they, sinful as they were, would not hesitate to pull a sheep out of a pit on the Sabbath. Because He came to seek and save His sheep who would hear His voice (John 10:3,27) and enter into the Sabbath rest, He provided by paying for their sins. He could break the Sabbath rules. He told the Pharisees that people are more important than sheep, and the salvation He provided was more important than rules. By saying, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath’ (Mark 2:27), Jesus was restating the principle that the Sabbath rest was instituted to relieve man of his labors, just as He came to relieve us of our attempting to achieve salvation by our works. We no longer rest for only one day, but forever cease our laboring to attain God’s favor. Jesus is our rest from works now, just as He is the door to Heaven, where we will rest in Him forever.”
“Hebrews 4 is the definitive passage regarding Jesus as our Sabbath rest. The writer to the Hebrews urges his readers to ‘enter in’ to the Sabbath rest provided by Christ. After three chapters of telling them that Jesus is superior to the angels and that He is our Apostle and High Priest, he pleads with them to not harden their hearts against Him, as their fathers hardened their hearts against the Lord in the wilderness. Because of their unbelief, God denied that generation access to the holy land, saying, ‘They shall not enter into My rest’ (Hebrews 3:11). In the same way, the writer to the Hebrews begs his readers not to make the same mistake by rejecting God’s Sabbath rest in Jesus Christ. ‘There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience’” (Hebrews 4:9–11).
We can find true rest because we can stop striving for God’s favor and cease striving to follow The Law simply because Jesus did this work for us. We can be at peace even when the world is not peaceful because Jesus is our Prince of Peace and is in control. Jesus prepares an “eternal shalom” that awaits us in heaven.
As we end, Jesus does not just leave us to deal with non-peace here as we await Heaven without a taste of the things to come. He gives us the gift of the Sabbath, which we will explore soon to be a shadow of this coming eternal peace.
When was a moment or two over the past year when things felt they were as they should be?
How can I work to create a few moments of Shalom for others during Thanksgiving?
Please take a moment to write out a personal prayer for peace…for shalom.