Rest

The Need to Rest (Part IV)

Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. Hebrews 4:1-2

For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.  Hebrews 4:8-11

In Hebrews 3, the writer tells us that Israelites were not able to enter God’s rest because of unbelief. The writer goes on to tell us in chapter 4 that God’s rest was not appropriated in the life of Israelites because they did not mix faith with what they heard. However, God’s promise of rest still stands for His children. Jesus came to bring us rest from dead works, toil, and anxiety. The Lord’s provision of rest continues to be available for those who believe Him and take Him at His word!

We live in the age of education and information! It is all about learning, reading, and giving mental ascent to some new idea. As Christians, we also fall prey to this approach by thinking that by just reading more books or listening to more sermons, we will become stronger Christians. While reading and listening about the things of God are good things to do, the main ingredient in developing our relationship with the Lord is faith that leads to obedience! When we hear the truth, we must believe that God’s word is trustworthy and that He will accomplish what He has promised us. If we don’t take God at His word, what we hear is not going to profit us, and we will eventually get discouraged and disillusioned in our walk with the Lord! In this case, we must believe that rest is possible, and it is a blessing from the Lord that overcomes the curse of sin and toil!

The word “rest” in the above passage is about ceasing to work or an “intermission.” I like the word picture “intermission” in that it is temporary. When we watch a play, there is usually one or two intermissions during the play. This gives an opportunity for all the actors to have a little rest, and it prepares them for the next part of the play.

The Lord desires for us to live and move from the place of rest. This means when we are busy, we are not toiling or striving. We are in tune with God’s timing and seasons. In addition, the Lord places intermissions in our walk with Him where He wants us to rest and to be at peace without doing much. Many of us are afraid of resting because we think it might be permanent or are worried about others’ opinion of us. We’re concerned that we may look barren if we didn’t have something to make us look busy. We fear looking less important or valuable. All those thoughts are the lies of the enemy, and we need to reject them as such.

God created rest, and it is part of His plan for us! If we run away from resting, then we are running away from how God chooses to operate in the lives of His children and His creation. This leads into carnality and disobedience. While in the natural we may accomplish much, one day we will realize that it was not worth the toil and the stress we put on ourselves and our family.

Are you living in the rest of God? Has the Lord placed you in a season of intermission? What is your response to this season? Continue to seek the Lord and thank Him for the season of rest. Allow Him to comfort you and strengthen you during this time. Allow Him to work things out His way and in His timing.

The Need to Rest (Part III)

Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried out to Pharaoh, saying, “Why are you dealing thus with your servants?  There is no straw given to your servants, and they say to us, ‘Make brick!’ And indeed your servants are beaten, but the fault is in your own people.”

But he said, “You are idle! Idle! Therefore you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ Therefore go now and work; for no straw shall be given you, yet you shall deliver the quota of bricks.” And the officers of the children of Israel saw that they were in trouble after it was said, “You shall not reduce any bricks from your daily quota.” Exodus 5:15-19

The children of Israel were in bondage to Pharaoh for four hundred years. They had worked hard as slaves in Egypt and had been crying out to the Lord for deliverance from this bondage. God heard their cries and sent Moses to the deliver them from the Egyptians. Moses told Pharaoh that God’s people need to go to the wilderness to worship the Lord! Pharaoh took an offense to this. He assumed that the Jews must not be working hard enough and have too much idle time that they want to worship their God.

Whenever we choose to rest in God, the enemy is not happy with that decision. The goal of the enemy is to keep us burdened, busy, and stressed. The enemy has no rest, and he doesn’t want God’s people to rest either. Resting in God can be a spiritual warfare because the enemy wants us to be seen as restless, anxious, and driven people who are not in tune with their God! Rest is a gift from the Lord! Rest gives us the opportunity recognize the God who gave us work to do and to enjoy what we have worked to produce. 

In the above passage, Pharaoh punished God’s people by giving them more work. Egyptians used to provide the straw for the bricks made by the Jews. But now they wanted the Israelites to find their own straw and still produce as many bricks as they did before. Pharaoh burdened and pressure them so much that they would not have time or energy to think about worshipping God! The enemy is still doing the same thing with God’s people. He throws all kinds of distractions to keep people exhausted, busy, and running around to ensure they don’t have time to rest nor do they have any daily devotional time with God.

Unfortunately, we have a culture that celebrates being busy. We perceive being busy as being successful and fulfilling God’s plan for our lives. However, that is not necessarily the case. Furthermore, the demands on people and families continues to increase. Everything including food, housing, cars, and education are becoming more expensive. Hence, the need to work harder and longer. We need to find the time to rest everyday and have a sabbath day of rest every week.

As God’s people, we can’t be swept by the winds of change and allow those things to pressure us to the point that we are enslaved to work and have no time to rest. The Lord does not keep us busy to the point of not having time for Him.  There could be seasons that life is difficult, but as much as it depends on us, we have to make the effort to make time to rest physically and spiritually.

If you find it difficult to rest, suspend most of your activities for a couple of days to seek the Lord. Ask the Lord to show you how you can find time to rest. What needs to be cut off? Let Him show you the areas that your priorities need adjustment. Have you allowed the trends of the culture to dictate how you should live your life!? Are you able to get the sleep you need every night? If you are a caretaker for someone who needs you on a regular basis, pray that God would send workers to hold your arms up. The Lord has designed us with the need to rest! Allow Him to show you and teach you how to do it well. It takes faith to rest well! You can be an example to those around you that rest is possible, and it is a gift that the Lord has made available for His beloved children!

 

The Need to Rest (Part II)

We are inundated with information, choices, and decisions on daily basis. We also pressure ourselves in trying to be one step ahead of the game. We are driven to gather all our facts to ensure we are ready and prepared for what is coming down the pipe. All this pressure can be overwhelming, and it causes us to be in a continual state of hyper alertness and stress!

The Bible tells us that the Lord knows our frame and that we are made of dust (See Psalm 103:4).  He does not expect us to figure everything out, and neither does he want us to control every situation. We may consider those actions as being responsible or protective of our loved ones, but God sees our anxiety and its impact on us and our relationships!

Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep. Psalm 127:1-2

 

The Lord is in charge of building our lives and protecting us and our families. We have a part to play in it, but our part comes from following His word, listening to the Lord, and surrendering our will to Him. If we are compelled to do something out of fear of losing or running out of time,  we are thinking too highly of ourselves! We can waste time and energy toiling in our own strength. Unless the Lord builds our lives, we are running on a treadmill that does not get us any faster to our hopes and dreams. We can waste valuable time and precious moments while trying to think of all the scenarios and possibilities. The truth is we are just spinning our wheels, and we are not making any real progress in the situation.

This week, one of my children has been given some choices that require a decision. I’m thankful to the Lord for the choices, but I have been stressed trying to figure out the ramifications of choosing one option over another. We had been praying about this for sometime, so this was not a surprise. The Lord is completely aware of the entire situation. Fretting is not going to provide anymore information or peace about one choice over another. It is surrendering it to the Lord and allowing Him to lead and guide the situation is what is going to give me peace and rest in Him!

Are you fretting over something today?  Are the pressures of life keeping you awake at night? Do you give room for the Lord to have a say in the matters and calm you with His love? The above scripture is a good passage to memorize or post it somewhere in your home, so you are continually reminded of how God see it. I will continue with this subject in the next devotional.

The Need to Rest (Part I)

Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Genesis 2:1-2

After creating the heavens and the earth in six days, our awesome God rested on the seventh day! Although the world and all it activities was only about to begin, the Lord chose to enjoy all that He had created! The Lord did not rest because He was tired or weary. He was doing it to enjoy His finished work of creation! Just like an artist that steps back and enjoys their creative work, our God looked at all His creation and called it good!

Since the Lord has created us in His image, we are designed to rest and enjoy our work. Why is it that some of us have such a hard time resting!? Some people feel their work is never finished, so it’s hard for them to rest. Some are overcommitted, and they always feel behind. Technology allows for people to draw upon us at all times via texts or email, and sometimes it may feel like we can never unplug. At other times, we are so used to being connected to people or work, we don’t want to unplug in the fear of missing out on something. In addition, we live in a culture of “not good enough,” which makes people feel like they always have to do more to be enough!

The truth is that we all need rest for our spirits, souls, and bodies. It is in resting that we gain clarity and have the opportunity to hear God better. It takes faith to rest our entire being! It takes faith to rest our minds from going a hundred miles an hour and trying to figure things out. It takes faith to rest our will from striving and making things happen. It takes faith to rest and still feel loved and valuable.  It takes faith to rest and not fear being forgotten if I we are not seen for a few days. It takes faith to rest and know that time is not going to run out on us while we’re resting. It takes faith to rest our bodies and get the sleep we need. It takes faith to rest and know that God cares about our needs even when we are resting!

Our flesh is going to fight resting because its intent is on remaining carnal, active, and busy. For some resting won’t be easy, but we must press through. When we can rest without being anxious, it is a step towards victory! Is the Lord calling you to rest? In resting, we may be delivered from fear, insecurities, restlessness, etc. Today, find time to rest in God and celebrate what He has already done in your life!