Moses told the people of God that the Lord had rest for them in the Promised Land but that they had to fight their enemies before they could enjoy the rest He promised them. Similarly, we have spiritual enemies that we need to fight against before we can truly experience the rest God has for us.
These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which the Lord God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. You shall not worship the Lord your God with such things. Deuteronomy 12:1-4
“You shall not at all do as we are doing here today—every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes— for as yet you have not come to the rest and the inheritance which the Lord your God is giving you. But when you cross over the Jordan and dwell in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies round about, so that you dwell in safety…Deuteronomy 12:8-10
The Israelites had been through a long journey in the wilderness due to unbelief and disobedience. God had brought them out of Egypt to bring them into the rest He had for them in the Promised Land. However, they had work to do before they could enjoy this rest. They had to fight their enemies and dispose of false gods that their enemies worshipped.
Many of us come to salvation but still carry old mindsets, bad habits, and false identities that we need to deal with. Those old mindsets don’t automatically go away after salvation, but they require our effort to dispossess them and break down the strongholds that we have erected.
For example, some have learned to protect themselves by holding on to grudges and not allowing people to get close to them. As a believer, if we carry bitterness and forgiveness in our lives, we cannot experience the rest of God. The Lord’s Prayer teaches us that we are expected to forgive others regularly if we want the mercies and the forgiveness of God in our lives. The rest of God cannot enter a heart that does not let go of bitterness and unforgiveness.
Some of us have a tendency to get negative when things that don’t go our way. The truth is before complaining starts, we must have entertained negative thoughts and emotions. If we desire to experience the rest of God, we need to learn to hold every thought captive to the obedience of Christ and dispossess negativity and complaining that is part of the old nature. Instead, we are called to give thanks to the Lord. We fight negativity in our lives and learn to be content, which allows us to remain in the rest of God.
Furthermore, the above passage shows us that the rest of God and His inheritance are intertwined. If we truly want to experience all that God has promised us in His word, it will begin with entering His rest. For example, the fruit of the spirit is every believer’s inheritance, but it requires our cooperation with God, and it also needs His rest in our lives. Just as in nature, it takes time and patience to see good and tasty fruit developed, we cannot develop the fruit of the spirit by striving. We partner with the Lord in our growth, but, at the same time, we rest in God and are being patient with the process of growth.
Sometimes we look for Promised Land as if a particular location, job, relationship, or church can change everything for us. While in some cases that may be true, in many cases, it is more about the internal work we need to do to be at rest in God while at the same time fighting the spiritual enemies that want to steal our peace and identity amid the Promised Land that God has given us.
Do you have a healthy balance where you can rest in the Lord and at the same time are intentional in fighting your spiritual enemies and allowing God to grow you and use you?
Sometimes we make our walk with the Lord complicated and wonder if we have what it takes to do what the Lord is asking us to do. Jesus told His disciples that the Kingdom belongs to those who are child-like. When we are child-like, we have less awareness of what we don’t know or what we don’t have. The Lord has placed something in our all hands that is valuable that we can use it to glorify Him and to bless others.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. Psalm 100:4
The Lord is worthy to be praised and worshipped! The beauty of our relationship with Him is that we come to the Lord as His beloved children and we also get to honor and praise Him as the King and the ruler of all mankind! We enter into His presence with confidence and boldness because God reconciled us to Himself through the cross, and we are no longer aliens but His children. At the same time, God is holy, all powerful, and marvelous, and we enter His royal gates with giving thanks for who He is and what He continues to do in our lives.
We have much to be thankful for in our relationship with the Lord. Below are some of the reasons:
He holds our lives together, and “in Him we live, move, and having our being (Acts 17:28).” In Him we have faith, hope, and love! He provides us with daily manna, daily grace, daily health, daily protection, and daily sound mind. Without Him we can do nothing, and as we continue to walk with Him, we realize that it’s not worth doing anything that doesn’t have His blessing anyway.
He is the author and the finisher of our faith. He initiated our relationship with Him, and He continues to work in our lives to become conformed to the image of His son. He is the one who helps us navigate through life and grow up in Him. He teaches us His ways, so we can be wise in our dealings and not have to suffer the pain of trial and error, or the confusion of ignorance. He has an answer for our marriages, children, jobs, ministries, relationships, and an unsaved world. Our job is to continue to look to Him for answers and get our counsel from Him.
He stands outside of time, and He cannot be rushed because His plans are far greater than anything we can think or imagine. He is the God of History, and He is the ruler of all mankind. His lovingkindness continues to open people’s eyes to His amazing grace, and He holds the key of salvation for whosoever believes in His Son and His finished work on the cross!
We have much to be thankful for. The world seems to be changing at a faster rate everyday, but our God is unchanging, and that is something else to be thankful for.
Today, make time for quiet moments with your Savior and rest in His love and peace!What are the things that you are thankful to the Lord for!? Feel free to comment below.