March 10, 2013 – March 16, 2013
“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.
Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 359–363; My Life Today, 143, 144; Steps to Christ, 46, 47.
“Sleep, nature’s sweet restorer, invigorates the weary body and prepares it for the next day’s duties.” The Adventist Home, 289.
“He [Christ] saw, too, that they [the disciples] had become weary in their labors, and that they needed to rest. …
“ ‘And He said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest awhile’ (Mark 6:31). Christ is full of tenderness and compassion for all in His service. He would show His disciples that God does not require sacrifice, but mercy. They had been putting their whole souls into labor for the people, and this was exhausting their physical and mental strength. It was their duty to rest. …
“The rest which Christ and His disciples took was not self-indulgent rest. …
“Though Jesus could work miracles, and had empowered His disciples to work miracles, He directed His worn servants to go apart into the country and rest. When He said that the harvest was great, and the laborers were few, He did not urge upon His disciples the necessity of ceaseless toil, but said, [Matthew 9:38 quoted.] …
“It is not wise to be always under the strain of work and excitement, even in ministering to men’s spiritual needs; for in this way personal piety is neglected, and the powers of mind and soul and body are overtaxed. Self-denial is required of the disciples of Christ, and sacrifices must be made; but care must also be exercised lest through their overzeal Satan take advantage of the weakness of humanity, and the work of God be marred.” The Desire of Ages, 359–362.
1 GOD GIVETH HIS BELOVED REST
- What part of life takes up approximately one third of the time you live? Psalm 4:8.
- What example shows why God gives us sleep? Matthew 26:45.
Note: “Nature will restore their [the children’s] vigor and strength in their sleeping hours, if her laws are not violated.” Healthful Living, 69.
- What example do we have even in the life of Jesus regarding the physical need of rest? Luke 8:23; Mark 4:38.
Note: “The Saviour was at last relieved from the pressure of the multitude, and, overcome with weariness and hunger, He lay down in the stern of the boat, and soon fell asleep.” The Desire of Ages, 334.
“On the way to Galilee Jesus passed through Samaria. It was noon when He reached the beautiful Vale of Shechem. At the opening of this valley was Jacob’s well. Wearied with His journey, He sat down here to rest while His disciples went to buy food.” Ibid., 183.
“Evening is drawing on as Jesus calls to His side three of His disciples, Peter, James, and John, and leads them across the fields, and far up a rugged path, to a lonely mountainside. The Saviour and His disciples have spent the day in traveling and teaching, and the mountain climb adds to their weariness. Christ has lifted burdens from mind and body of many sufferers; He has sent the thrill of life through their enfeebled frames; but He also is compassed with humanity, and with His disciples He is wearied with the ascent.” Ibid., 419.
2 EARLY TO BED, EARLY TO RISE
- What inspired counsel do we have regarding sleep? Psalm 127:2.
- How do we define “early to bed” in a world that is able to stay up all night? Psalm 104:20–23.
Note: “Since the work of building up the body takes place during the hours of rest, it is essential, especially in youth, that sleep should be regular and abundant.” My Life Today, 143.
“They [physicians] should teach that by studying after nine o’clock, there is nothing gained but much lost.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, 330.
“I know from the testimonies given me from time to time for brain workers, that sleep is worth far more before than after midnight. Two hours’ good sleep before twelve o’clock is worth more than four hours after twelve o’clock.” Ibid., vol. 7, 224.
“In our schools the lights should be put out at half past nine.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 297.
- What does God think about mixing up or changing His plan? Job 17:12.
Note: “Some youth are much opposed to order and discipline. They do not respect the rules of the home by rising at a regular hour. They lie in bed some hours after daylight, when everyone should be astir. They burn the midnight oil, depending upon artificial light to supply the place of the light that nature has provided at seasonable hours. …
“Our God is a God of order, and He desires that His children shall will to bring themselves into order and under His discipline. Would it not be better, therefore, to break up this habit of turning night into day, and the fresh hours of the morning into night? If the youth would form habits of regularity and order, they would improve in health, in spirits, in memory, and in disposition.” Child Guidance, 111, 112.
- What are the exceptions? Luke 6:12; John 3:1, 2; 19:39.
3 WEARINESS WEARS
- What do we need when we become tired? Genesis 18:4; John 4:6.
Note: “The disciples of Jesus needed to be educated as to how they should labor and how they should rest. Today there is need that God’s chosen workmen should listen to the command of Christ to go apart and rest awhile.” My Life Today, 133.
- What is the best preventive against weariness? Mark 6:31.
Note: “It is a great mistake to keep a minister constantly at work in business lines, going from place to place, and sitting up late at night in attendance at board meetings and committee meetings. This brings upon him weariness and discouragement.” Gospel Workers, 271.
- What disturbs the sleep?
Note: “If a third meal be eaten at all, it should be light, and several hours before going to bed. But with many the poor tired stomach may complain of weariness in vain. More food is forced upon it, which sets the digestive organs in motion, again to perform the same round of labor through the sleeping hours. The sleep is generally disturbed with unpleasant dreams, and in the morning they awake unrefreshed. There is a sense of languor and loss of appetite. A lack of energy is felt through the entire system. In a short time the digestive organs are worn out, for they have had no time to rest. Such persons become miserable dyspeptics, and wonder what has made them so. The cause has brought the sure result.” Healthful Living, 165.
- How can our personal weariness affect others? Deuteronomy 25:18; Exodus 17:11, 12.
4 REST IS NOT JUST SLEEPING
- What do we need besides cessation from work? Exodus 33:14; Matthew 11:28–30; Luke 10:5, 6.
Note: “God has pledged Himself to keep the living machinery [of our body] in healthful action if the human agent will obey His laws and co-operate with God.” Healthful Living, 31.
- On what condition can we enjoy Christ’s rest? John 14:27; II Corinthians 12:9, 10. What is Christ’s yoke that gives us rest? Isaiah 48:17, 18; Jeremiah 6:16.
Note: “When temptations assail you, when care, perplexity, and darkness seem to surround your soul, look to the place where you last saw the light. Rest in Christ’s love and under His protecting care. When sin struggles for the mastery in the heart, when guilt oppresses the soul and burdens the conscience, when unbelief clouds the mind, remember that Christ’s grace is sufficient to subdue sin and banish the darkness. Entering into communion with the Saviour, we enter the region of peace.” The Ministry of Healing, 250.
- What keeps us from entering His rest? Romans 6:20; Psalm 95:9–11; Hebrews 3:17, 18.
Note: “Many attend religious services, and are refreshed and comforted by the word of God; but through neglect of meditation, watchfulness, and prayer, they lose the blessing, and find themselves more destitute than before they received it. Often they feel that God has dealt hardly with them. They do not see that the fault is their own. By separating themselves from Jesus, they have shut away the light of His presence.” The Desire of Ages, 83.
- How can I enter His rest? Hebrews 4:11, 16.
Note: “Accept the Holy Spirit for your spiritual illumination, and under its guidance follow on to know the Lord. Go forth where the Lord directs, doing what He commands. Wait on the Lord, and He will renew your strength.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 230.
5 THE SEVENTH DAY CYCLE
- What weekly blessing has God given us that we may have physical and mental rest? Exodus 20:10, 11.
- How is the Sabbath rest related to our redemption? Exodus 31:13; I Thessalonians 5:23; Mark 2:27, 28.
Note: “To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ’s creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight. Seeing Christ in it, they delight themselves in Him. The Sabbath points them to the works of creation as an evidence of His mighty power in redemption. While it calls to mind the lost peace of Eden, it tells of peace restored through the Saviour. And every object in nature repeats His invitation, ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.’ Matthew 11:28.” The Desire of Ages, 289.
“The Sabbath is a golden clasp that unites God and His people.” Maranatha, 244.
- Are we to catch up on our lost sleep on the Sabbath day? What does it mean to rest on the Sabbath? Isaiah 58:13; Matthew 12:12; Acts 16:13.
Note: “None should feel at liberty to spend sanctified time in an unprofitable manner. It is displeasing to God for Sabbathkeepers to sleep during much of the Sabbath. They dishonor their Creator in so doing, and, by their example, say that the six days are too precious for them to spend in resting. They must make money, although it be by robbing themselves of needed sleep, which they make up by sleeping away holy time. They then excuse themselves by saying: ‘The Sabbath was given for a day of rest. I will not deprive myself of rest to attend meeting, for I need rest.’ Such make a wrong use of the sanctified day. They should, upon that day especially, interest their families in its observance and assemble at the house of prayer with the few or with the many, as the case may be. They should devote their time and energies to spiritual exercises, that the divine influence resting upon the Sabbath may attend them through the week. Of all the days in the week, none are so favorable for devotional thoughts and feelings as the Sabbath.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 704.
1 How would you establish a proper balance between activity and rest?
2 Am I getting enough sleep? If not, what will I change in order to do so?
3 How does lack of sleep affect me and those around me?
4 Am I taking times of relaxation so that I can be refreshed physically, mentally, and spiritually?
5 Am I gaining the blessings that God wants me to have on a weekly basis?
A Bustling Danger
“In the estimation of the rabbis it was the sum of religion to be always in a bustle of activity. They depended upon some outward performance to show their superior piety. Thus they separated their souls from God, and built themselves up in self-sufficiency. The same dangers still exist.” The Desire of Ages, 362.
Time for Spiritual Reflection
“Though time is short, and there is a great work to be done, the Lord is not pleased to have us so prolong our seasons of activity that there will not be time for periods of rest, for the study of the Bible, and for communion with God. …
“When Jesus said the harvest was great and the laborers were few, He did not urge upon His disciples the necessity of ceaseless toil. … He tells His disciples that their strength has been severely tried, that they will be unfitted for future labor unless they rest awhile. … In the name of Jesus, economize your powers, that after being refreshed with rest, you may do more and better work.” My Life Today, 133.
Rest and Stomach Problems
“If this practise [sic] [of eating late, just before going to sleep] is indulged in a great length of time, the health will become seriously impaired. The blood becomes impure, the complexion sallow, and eruptions will frequently appear. You will often hear complaints of frequent pains and soreness in the region of the stomach; and while performing labor, the stomach becomes so tired that they are obliged to desist from work, and rest. They seem to be at a loss to account for this state of things; for, setting this aside, they are apparently healthy. … After the stomach, which has been overtaxed, has performed its task, it is exhausted, which causes faintness. Here many are deceived, and think that it is the want of food that produces such feelings, and without giving the stomach time to rest, they take more food, which for the time removes the faintness.” Healthful Living, 165.
© 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.