The concept of rest frequently appears in the Bible. Rest is so important to revival and restoration in our church because it connects us in a special way with God. Learn more in this month’s Synapse.

01-11: Revival, Reformation, and Rest

“[No] man can live the Christian life unless he gives himself times with God. . . . How can we do God’s work unless in God’s strength? And how can we receive God’s strength unless we seek in quietness and in loneliness the presence of God?”

Revival, Reformation, and Rest

By Lyndelle Chiomenti

In continuing our discussion on revival and reformation, this month’s Synapse takes a look at how rest helps us to engage in these processes. But before we discuss how rest assists with revival and reformation, let’s take a look at the origins of these two words.

The Latin root of the word revival is –viv, which refers to life. So when we talk about revival, we are talking about a renewal of life. The Latin derivation of the word reformation is –form, the shape of something. Therefore, reformation involves a reshaping.1

How is life renewed and reshaped through rest? In Mark 6:30‒32, we read about how busy the disciples had been and about the great number of people who were coming and going so that they couldn’t even eat. Jesus’ response to the situation was to invite them to go with Him to a quiet a place so they could rest. Of this verse, one commentator writes: “We cannot work unless we have our time of rest. . . .

“[No] man can live the Christian life unless he gives himself times with God. . . . How can we do God’s work unless in God’s strength? And how can we receive that strength unless we seek in quietness and in loneliness the presence of God?”2
The Bible calls us to such rest in the following three places (there are, of course, more places):

  • Psalm 37:7 encourages us to “rest in the Lord, / and wait patiently for Him” (NKJV).
  • After Elijah’s experience on Mount Carmel, he fled for his life and found a broom tree under which he slept, exhausted. Twice in between his sleeping, God sent an angel to encourage his soul and food to nourish his body. When Elijah had rested enough, God sent him out again to do His work (see 1 Kings 18 and 19).
  • In Genesis 2:1‒3 we read that after God created the world in six days, He rested on the seventh day and in so doing He sanctified and blessed it. “God saw that a Sabbath was essential for man, even in Paradise. He needed to lay aside his own interests and pursuits for one day of the seven, that he might more fully contemplate the works of God and meditate upon His power and goodness. He needed a Sabbath to remind him more vividly of God and to awaken gratitude because all that he enjoyed and possessed came from the beneficent hand of the Creator.”3

Exodus 20:8‒11 repeats the Sabbath command first given to Adam and Eve in their perfect garden home. If they needed the Sabbath then, how much more do we need it now!

In addition to the weekly Sabbath, Christian psychologist Arch Hart recommends that “[Every] hour should have a sabbatical few minutes. Every day should have a sabbath-type rest in sleep.”4

Taken together, how do you think these thoughts on rest can help you to revive (renew) and reform (reshape) your life? Can you hear Jesus inviting you to “come aside and rest awhile” with Him (Mark 6:30)?

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  1. http://adventistreview.org.article.pho?id+334 (accessed December 16, 2010).
  2. William Barclay, The Gospel of Mark, rev. ed. (Philadelphia, Penn.: Westminster Press), p. 155.
  3. See “Everyday Revival and Reformation,” Kathy Beagles, Adventist Review, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 48.
  4. “The ups and downs of stress.” An interview with Archibald Hart by Dan Matthews. Vibrant Life, July-August 1990 http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0826/is_n4_v6/ai_9198229/pg_2/?tag=content;col1 (accessed December 16, 2010).