Rest | What Does It Mean and Reasons to Rest in God’s Promises

Life gets busy, and it can be difficult to find rest. But God promises rest is available when we come to Him. So then, what does it mean to rest in God’s promises, and how do you find it? No matter your circumstances, discover how to rest in God’s promises! 

Jesus is the one who gives true rest. All of God’s promises are available through Him…

  • “‘Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you 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

What is the Hebrew Word for Rest?

  • Shabbat: Most of us have heard of the word Shabbat. Shabbat, or Sabbath, is a well-known Hebrew word that is translated as “rest.” In simplest terms, Shabbat means “to cease” or “stop working.” 
  • Naukh: There is another word used for rest in Hebrew, naukh. This word means “to dwell” or “settle in,” “remain in,” “give rest to,” “cause to alight”, or “place.” 

Shabbat and naukh are connected. When we rest in God’s promises, we cease striving to earn them through our own righteousness and instead realize we have access to them through Jesus’ righteousness. Further, Jesus promises us the gift of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in and rests on us, causing us to see God’s perspective and settle our worries and busy minds. 

Aren’t God’s promises of rest magnificently illustrated in His Word? 

God’s Promises in the Word

God’s promises are written throughout the Word from Genesis to Revelation. We may know many of them, such as…

  • Having an inheritance
  • Receiving forgiveness
  • Being redeemed
  • Being granted freedom
  • Being fully justified
  • Having every spiritual blessing
  • Receiving salvation

But when we look closer, we find His promises are far deeper and wider than we could know, just like His love…

  • “…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”—Ephesians 3:17-19 (emphasis added)

Every promise of God is established, and through the blood of Yeshua—Jesus—we can access them!

  • “‘God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?’”—Numbers 23:19
  • “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.”—2 Corinthians 1:20 

3 Reasons God Tells Us to Rest

 A young woman in a hat sitting on a bench facing a lake at sunset.

When life is busy, and you are trying to manage a million things, true rest can seem distant and far off. But what if there is a different perspective God wants us to have? What if the busyness and rest cycles that flow through our lives in various seasons actually have a bigger purpose?

God created the world and everything in and around it in 6 days, saw that it was good, and rested on the seventh day (see Genesis 2:2-3). There is a pattern God wants us to see—a pattern that renews, restores, and rejuvenates us, giving us life in a busy world that drains us. God also wants us to see a pattern so we can anticipate what is to come. 

God has been teaching us this pattern since He first created us. 

Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). Psalm 121:3-4 says, “He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep (emphasis added). 

Though God does not rest, He tells us to rest so that we are renewed. Why do we need to be renewed? And how do God’s promises of rest point to the future? 

Why Rest?

  1. To receive restoration necessary to answer our call

We need rest to restore our minds and bodies so that we may prosper in what we are called to do. When we receive Yeshua into our hearts, our spirits are made alive, and our souls begin to prosper. But our bodies can be slow to catch up. The apostle John prayed that we might prosper in all things and be in health, just as our souls prosper.

  • “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”—3 John 1:2 

We can’t advance in our call, or prosper, without our bodies being in good health. Receive these words and prayers of John and rest in God’s promises. 

  1. To answer our call in humility

Without rest or the need for it, we become prideful. Remember, the Word says God “never sleeps.” God doesn’t need rest, but we do. If we don’t rest or don’t think we need it and instead think of rest as wasted time, we become prideful. 

We fall into the lie, “If I had more time (if I didn’t have to sleep or rest), I could get this or that done!” Much like the lie about money! This statement positions us, in a way, as gods in our lives. We think we can accomplish more and seek control, but it is to be God who accomplishes His work through us. 

Hasn’t this been Satan’s plan all along—to tempt us into thinking we can become like God?

  • “Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’”—Genesis 3:4-5 (emphasis added)

God’s Word clearly states we have been created with a divine purpose or calling on our lives, one that was planned before the creation of the world. God, not us, gave us our calling. God, not us, created us for a purpose. When we think we can “do more,” not resting in His presence, we flip His divine order and step into pride.

  • “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose…”—Ephesians 1:11

However, because we are in a broken world and are born sinners, humility does not come naturally to us. But to answer our divine calls, we must operate in the fruits of the Spirit, humility being key. 

He tells us to rest to protect ourselves from pride in our call because pride stands in the way and hinders our purposes. We weren’t meant to do anything in our own strength but in Christ. In fact, without Christ, we can do nothing—that is, we cannot accomplish the good work we were intended to do, which brings Him glory and fulfills our true purposes. 

  • “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”—Ephesians 2:10 (emphasis added)
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”—Philippians 4:13 (emphasis added)
  • “‘I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.’”—John 15:5 (emphasis added)

The good work God wrote in His books for you to fulfill is intended to bear much fruit. Rest in God’s promises of divine purpose today. 

  1. To establish a pattern that points to His glory and the Kingdom

We know God has appointed times to display His heart, character, and coming Kingdom. He established patterns of appointed times in creation for a reason, to His perfect timing and glory.

  • “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven… He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11

In the appointed time of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), we see a picture of and road sign that points to the coming Kingdom and millennial reign of the Messiah our King. In Hebrew, the word Sukkot means “tabernacle.” 

As mentioned above, the words Shabbat and naukh are connected. One means “to cease work,” and the other means “to dwell” or “settle in”—both revealing what it looks like to rest in God’s promises. 

How does Sukkot reveal the future Kingdom and rest?

At the first coming, Jesus—the Word—became flesh and came to tabernacle, or dwell, with us (John 1:14). At His second coming, the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7), we will be united with our King in the Kingdom and tabernacle with Him—ultimately fulfilling this prophetic appointed time of dwelling with and resting in His presence. 

Ezekiel depicts this future tabernacling with the return of God’s glory to the temple.

  • “And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory… And the glory of the Lord came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east. The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple… And He said to me, ‘Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever.’”—Ezekiel 43:2, 4-5, 7

Rest in God’s promises of the coming glory and being placed with Him in the Kingdom. This is when Israel will be the leading nation of the earth with the Lord sitting on His throne in all His glory, and all the nations—this includes you—will be gathered in the holy city of Jerusalem. 

  • “‘At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow the dictates of their evil hearts.’”—Jeremiah 3:17

The promise of rest is also described in Job 5:19…

  • “‘He shall deliver you in six troubles, yes, in seven no evil shall touch you.’” 

This is a prophetic statement that reflects God’s timing through the days of the week. For “6 days” of the week, the enemy troubles us, but on the seventh day, Shabbat, we are to rest. Six is the number for man in Hebrew. So then, for the age of man, 6 days, the enemy prowls around looking for whom he will devour (1 Peter 5:8). But on the seventh, the millennial reign of the Messiah, no evil will touch us. 

The Sabbath day and the Feast of Sukkot are prophetic pictures of the ultimate fulfillment of rest in the Kingdom! 

This is when we will dwell in the presence of the Lord, and the completed promise of Kingdom restoration, renewal, and rejuvenation will be fulfilled, walking in our God-given purposes.   

In short, God tells us to rest so that we…

  • Are renewed so we can answer His call in our lives
  • Do not fall into pride and cut off the good fruit He has for us
  • Look forward to the coming Kingdom and ultimate rest from the enemy

We can rejoice when we rest in God’s promises of purpose, good fruit, and abiding with Him in the Kingdom! We know nothing we go through now will be compared to the glory we experience when we see our King face to face. 

We need God’s appointed times of rest to allow His thoughts to become ours and for His heartbeat to direct our comings and goings.

We may not always see the importance of rest, but God knows us better than we know ourselves. He knew before we were created that we would need physical and spiritual rest. When we rest in His promises, our sights reset, our focus returns to Him, and we can accomplish much for His Kingdom. 

Click here to learn more about the significance of Shabbat.

Accepting God’s Promise of Rest

Do you need to accept God’s promise of rest today? Enter into His presence, pausing from the busyness of life. Believe and accept His promise of rest not because it will fade or fail if we don’t, but because God does nothing against our will. God created the promise of rest intentionally, knowing we need it. It is for our good. 

The power of God is released in our lives when we accept His promises, one on top of another. The acceptance of Him changes our nature. It shapes us into His image and prepares us to step further into our God-given purposes.  

It is time to activate and believe God’s promises, to accept them, and give them a place to reside daily.

We have to open our hearts and desire God’s promises if they are to flourish. 

Seek God, and He will come. He will answer. For all His promises are “yes” and “amen,” to the glory of God through us (2 Corinthians 1:20)!