Sabbath School Lesson for June 26-July 2, 2021

Teresa’s YouTube channel about the Lesson:

Overview of Lesson 1

Living in these stressful times reminds us of our need for rest. We begin the study of this topic of rest by touching on these ideas:

  • our need of physical rest (Sunday)
  • our need of emotional rest (Monday)
  • the Old Testament theme of rest (Tuesday)
  • the New Testament theme of rest (Wednesday)
  • what happens when we ignore our need for rest (Thursday)

The concept of rest has awakened the whole world this past year during a pandemic. Some people have been driven inside their homes, working there or unemployed and fearing eviction, with little time for emotional or mental rest. And others have been front-line, essential workers, risking their lives to save others, with the added burden of having no physical rest.

There is a kind of rest that satisfies both our physical and mental needs, however. When we discover what it means to have spiritual rest, the “abundant life” Jesus wants for us is indeed within reach (John 10:10).

Memory Text: “My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” Psalm 84:2 NKJV

Understanding what it means to rest in Christ will only happen when we hunger and thirst for Him, the living God. Only God has the prescription that will save us from our fears, anxieties, and worry. Before these forms of imprisonment overtake us, we must spend more time with God. Only He has solutions to problems that seem insurmountable. Only He can help us empty our busy schedules and free us from our burdensome loads.

Sunday: Worn and Weary (Genesis 2:1-3)

We have many labor-saving devices today to reduce our work load, but the need for physical rest is still an acute issue. People are experiencing less hours of sleep, with the resulting exhaustion as an excuse for being dependent on caffeine.

God knew instantly that mankind would need a time of rest to punctuate his periods of activity. God began our world by setting an example in keeping the Sabbath right there in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:1-3). The invitation has always been to enjoy a weekly day of rest, to enjoy the wonderful natural world with Him, its Creator.

The God who created us built in cycles of rest in the form of night-time and in the weekly Sabbath rest. Our responsibility is to take advantage of all the rest He provides.

Bible Verses and Questions:

Mark 6:30-32 and Psalm 4:8

  • What are some of the times and reasons for our need of rest?

Matthew 11:28 and Exodus 23:12

  • Who did God consider especially heavy-laden with work?
  • Why are all included in His invitation to rest?

Monday Running on Empty

It has been estimated that depression may surpass heart disease as the leading cause of death in our lifetime. And this was before the added cases of depression and mental illnesses we are seeing during the current covid-19 situation.

When Israel and Judah were facing the invading forces of Babylon, Baruch, Jeremiah’s scribe, was particularly distraught over the troubling state of affairs. God sent a message to Baruch, the sorrowful scribe (Jeremiah 45:1-5). Not only did God remind him that He, the Lord, was in control, but He also gave Baruch the assurance that he would survive the events that were so frightening at the time.

Even in the midst of horrific circumstances that weigh us down more than we can bear, we, too, can see the light at the end of the tunnel, like Baruch. When we stay true to God, He will not only remain by our side, but will reward us in the end with the greatest gift of all, eternal life.

Bible Verses and Questions:

Jeremiah 45:1-3

  • What was the mental state of Baruch, when God sent him this message?
  • When in your life have you felt like Baruch?

Jeremiah 45:4-5

  • What two promises of God must have helped Baruch’s emotional despair?
  • How can these same hopeful messages help us when we are faced with difficult trials?

Tuesday: Defining Rest in the Old Testament

There are several Hebrew words that describe various kinds of rest in the Old Testament. The kind of rest God intended for us on the seventh day, our Sabbath rest, comes from the word shabbat, which means “to cease work, to rest, to take a holiday”.

Other kinds of rest are used in the Old Testament, but one was used commonly and referred to our death. The word shakab, means literally “to lie down, sleep”. We find it in Deuteronomy 31:16 and 2 Samuel 7:12 in the context of “rest with your fathers”, meaning those who have died before us are resting or sleeping in the grave.

Many find this kind of rest comforting after losing a loved one. They are having a peaceful “rest” before the Lord comes and resurrects His righteous ones. That’s how we can someday be together to meet Jesus with those who now “sleep in Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17).

Bible Verses and Questions:

Genesis 2:2, 3

  • Why did God create us with the need for rest after activity?

Deuteronomy 31:16, 2 Samuel 7:12, and Leviticus 19:31

  • Why is it important to remember that death is just a sleep, a kind of rest?
  • What kind of dangerous spiritual activity can result when we believe in “spirits of the dead”?

Wednesday: Rest in the New Testament

Jesus, being in the form of a human and yet still our Creator, understood very well the need we have for rest. His invitation was to “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He even instructed His disciples to find refuge by getting into a boat one day and sailing out a ways to get away from the constant press of the crowds of people who were following them (Mark 6:31, 32).

Paul also recognized and appreciated that the spirit is refreshed in the company of Christian friends (1 Corinthians 16:17, 18). God wants to give us spiritual rest and He does it through various means.

We find reference to Sabbath rest in the book of Hebrews. Although their forefathers had hardened their hearts against the Sabbath, the author of Hebrews asserted that there remains a rest for the people of God (Hebrews 4:6-10). It happens when we cease our own works and rely on the works of God–in His power to create the world and restore His image in us. Exactly what the Sabbath was intended to do.

Bible Verses and Questions:

Mark 6:31, 32

  • Why must we careful to take time to rest, even when we’re working for the Lord?

Matthew 11:28

  • What kind of rest was Jesus talking about here?
  • What do you do in your own life that allows you to have this kind of rest?

Hebrews 4:10

  • How do we rest from our own works on the Sabbath? Is it just our physical work? Why or why not?

Thursday: A Restless Wanderer

In Genesis 4 we find the story of two brothers, Cain and Abel, who seem to be quite different in their religious understandings. In considering the reason for their final disagreement, which led to Abel’s death, one is tempted to believe that God is being overly demanding and arbitrary in His worship requirements. Why didn’t God accept Cain’s sacrifice of garden produce? See Genesis 4:1-12.

We soon see, however, that God was not arbitrary at all. The symbolic nature of their offerings was understood by Abel, but Cain wasn’t close enough to God to realize how his offering was based on his own works, instead of the gift of God, His Son who was represented by the lamb offering.

Cain’s murder of his brother led to his restless wandering from that time forward. God did all He could to protect him from someone in the family seeking vengeance. But Cain chose to run away from God’s presence without seeking forgiveness for his horrendous murder. He then became “a fugitive and a vagabond”, never finding true rest with God.

We, too, are potential fugitives when we run away from God’s love and forgiveness–when we try to fill the void in our lives with material objects, busy schedules, or even human relationships. Nothing can take the place of God, and we will never prosper and find rest until we realize His value to our otherwise meaningless existence.

Bible Verses and Questions:

Genesis 4:14, 15

  • Why did God still try to protect Cain, even though Cain continued to reject Him?
  • How can we show the same kind of thoughtful actions for those who harm or hurt us or those we love?

Genesis 4:4, 5,  and Ephesians 4:26, 27

  • What emotion filled Cain’s heart and how did this lead to Abel’s murder?
  • What are some of the ways to control our anger?

Friday: Final Thoughts

It’s easy to get caught up in doing so many things that we start to unconsciously distance ourselves from the God we serve. All our activity creates in our minds the idea that we are doing it all by ourselves. We credit ourselves with our achievements and forget that God is the One who deserves ALL the glory. None of it is ours to claim.

That’s why seasons of rest, in all the forms available to us, allow us to contemplate our true position and keep God at the forefront of our endeavors. He alone give us the guidance, strength, and talents needed to perform any task worth doing, which includes even when we are working for the Lord. It’s easy to focus on the accomplishment, and not on the God who inspired and empowered it to be done in the first place.

Our breakdown in spiritual connectedness usually occurs in stages.

  1. First, we lose focus. Whether the activity is a successful ministry or a challenging problem we need to overcome, God is pushed to the background.
  2. Without taking a break from our activities, we gradually become exhausted with the demands they have on our lives. Our physical, mental, and emotional needs suffer. Burnout and discouragement are a real possibility when we don’t get the rest we need.
  3. And finally, we notice that our devotional life begins to decline. We not only neglect our physical need for rest, but prayer and Bible study suffer as well.

“All who are under the training of God need the quiet hour for communion with their own hearts, with nature, and with God. In them is to be revealed a life that is not in harmony with the world, its customs, or its practices; and they need to have a personal experience in obtaining a knowledge of the will of God. We must individually hear Him speaking to the heart. When every other voice is hushed, and in quietness we wait before Him, the silence of the soul makes more distinct the voice of God. ~Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 58

Next Week: Restless and Rebellious

To read the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly or see more resources for its study, go to