“It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.” Psalm 127:2 KJV
“It is vain for you to rise up early, to take rest late, to eat the bread of [anxious] toil—for He gives [blessings] to His beloved in sleep.” Psalm 127:2 AMP
Sleep and rest though closely related are in fact different in function and purpose. Sleep is primarily a function of restoring bodily strength. Rest is for refreshing and renewing the soul. We cannot be truly healthy without both in sufficient proportions.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11:29
Sabbath days are for rest, for soul renewal, for reordering our thinking, our emotions, our priorities and perspectives. Therefore, on those days we do no ordinary work. We are relieved of the stresses of the clock, and we take time to recoup but engaging in recreational activities, enjoying the easy comfort of visiting with friends, meditating in the Scriptures but not as religious exercise but simply to commune with the Spirit of God by immersing ourselves in His Word.
Sleep is for healing and renewal of the body. There are innumerable activities that go on in the body when we sleep and particularly during deepest (REM = rapid eye movement) sleep. It is God’s creative plan that we should have daily times of cleansing, renewing and restoring the bodies energies and strength. It is a time to reset our minds and all of the bodies systems so to speak to allow us a fresh start to each new day with strength for each day.
Of all the activities we may engage in during a 24 hour period the most important for our physical health and wellbeing is sleep. The most important for our soul, our spiritual, mental and emotional wellbeing is rest.
The two go hand in hand and neither can be successfully neglected at the expense of the other. When we neglect sleep we make it difficult to rest. When we neglect rest it becomes more increasingly difficult to sleep.
The Scriptures warn us that it is vanity to think that we are more productive and more effective in our pursuit of success if we sacrifice sleep for opportunities to do more work. We think we can secure our futures more surely if we earn more money. Eating the bread of sorrows is spending our days toiling continually without rest and sleep so we can have more stuff and when we get it we can’t truly enjoy it because we are worried about where we shall find enough for the future to come.
But the soul that trusts in God lays aside the cares of this world knowing that He alone is the Provider, He alone is the Sustainer, He alone is the Heavy Burden Bearer and He alone is the Deliverer on whom we can cast all our cares because He cares for us.