The strange thing is this…REST is completely different than BEING STILL, or SLEEPING, or anything that we’ve talked about here before.
According to Merriam-Webster.com REST is…
1: repose, sleep; specifically : a bodily state characterized by minimal functional and metabolic activities
2 a: freedom from activity or labor b: a state of motionlessness or inactivity c: the repose of death
3: a place for resting or lodging
4: peace of mind or spirit
Which strikes me as a little peculiar until you sit and open up the word and find out that in the NIV alone some form of REST was mentioned almost five hundred times (496 times to be exact). Is that crazy cool or what? So…you & I need to stop and take a look at what this REST is all about.
Rest. Rest. Rest in God’s love. The only work you are required now to do is to give your most intense attention to His still, small voice within.-Madame Jeanne Guyon
I found in some of my old boxes of books a great little treasure called, “The Handbook of Bible Application” and I couldn’t wait to crack it open and see what it says about REST. I am going to take what I found and break it down into four points (see below) and give you some scripture to hold on to as well.
REST is given as:
1) Balanced Life ~Genesis 2:3, Mark 6:31-32
2) Worship ~Exodus 20:8
3) God’s Ultimate Plan ~our full and complete rest in Christ begins when we trust Him to complete His good and perfect work in us.
4) Is a Gift ~peace with God now, eternal life in a new earth later.
1) as a Balanced Life…
For God to give us REST must mean that HE, the Creator of the Universe, wants us to slow down all the many hats that we wear and lay the down for a bit so that we can focus on being a complete and whole person. Not just someone who is good at: ___________. But someone who is complete in who they are in Him. Rest brings about an opportunity for us to refresh, refuel, and recharge.
Genesis 2:2 – By the seventh day God had finished his work. On the seventh day he rested from all his work. God blessed the seventh day. He made it a Holy Day because on that day he rested from his work, all the creating God had done.
2 Samuel 16:14 – By the time they reached the Jordan River, David and all the men of the company were exhausted. There they rested and were revived.
Ezekiel 20:11 – “‘I gave them laws for living, showed them how to live well and obediently before me. I also gave them my weekly holy rest days, my “Sabbaths,” a kind of signpost erected between me and them to show them that I, God, am in the business of making them holy.
Psalm 116:7 – I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings…
2) as Worship
When we take the time to REST we can sit back and give God all the glory for every part of our lives. Everything we have, everything we do, everything we are becomes an offering of worship to Him. It is an obedience and a reverence that is only deserved for God alone.
Exodus 31:12 – [ Sabbath ] There are six days for work but the seventh day is Sabbath, pure rest, holy to God.
Deuteronomy 5:12 – No working on the Sabbath; keep it holy just as God, your God, commanded you. Work six days, doing everything you have to do, but the seventh day is a Sabbath, a Rest Day—no work: …That’s why God, your God, commands you to observe the day of Sabbath rest.
Isaiah 25:9 – Also at that time, people will say, “Look at what’s happened! This is our God! We waited for him and he showed up and saved us! This God, the one we waited for! Let’s celebrate, sing the joys of his salvation. God’s hand rests on this mountain!”
3) God’s Ultimate Plan
When we don’t slow down on our own to rest God will slow us down. I know this one first hand…you can listen to the gentler whispers or you can deal with the harsh reality that God always knows what is best for us. Resting in God’s ultimate plan gives us peace that no matter what is coming at us that God will give us the rest we need when we need it to prepare us for the next stage of His ultimate plan!
Joshua 21:43 – And so God gave Israel the entire land that he had solemnly vowed to give to their ancestors… And God gave them rest on all sides, as he had also solemnly vowed to their ancestors. Not a single one of their enemies was able to stand up to them—God handed over all their enemies to them.
Joshua 22:1 – He said: “You have carried out everything Moses the servant of God commanded you, and you have obediently done everything I have commanded you…And now God, your God, has given rest to your brothers just as he promised them.
1 Samuel 16:13 – The Spirit of God entered David like a rush of wind, God vitally empowering him for the rest of his life.
Isaiah 14:7 – And now it’s over, the whole earth quietly at rest.
Jeremiah 31:2 – This is the way God put it: “They found grace out in the desert, these people who survived the killing. Israel, out looking for a place to rest, met God out looking for them!”
4) It is a Gift
If we have been called to a season of REST we should take a minute to thank God for it. Believe me, it is not easy to slow down and rest, especially when you are a “get it done kind of girl”, but in all the times that I was trying to “get it done” I was running myself ragged and never fully appreciating the gift that God was trying to give to me. Slow down, take a break, and REST…you are not in trouble, you are not being punished, you are being given a terrific opportunity to enjoy some time with your Heavenly Father…take it as a Gift!
1 Chronicles 23:25 – David said, “Now that the God of Israel has given rest to his people and made Jerusalem his permanent home…”
2 Chronicles 14:7 – …”While we have the chance and the land is quiet, let’s build a solid defense system, fortifying our cities with walls, towers, gates, and bars. We have this peaceful land because we sought God; he has given us rest from all troubles.
Proverbs 6:20 – Wherever you walk, they’ll guide you; whenever you rest, they’ll guard you; when you wake up, they’ll tell you what’s next. For sound advice is a beacon, good teaching is a light, moral discipline is a life path.
Colossians 2:2 – I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God. Then you will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ, God’s great mystery. All the richest treasures of wisdom and knowledge are embedded in that mystery and nowhere else. And we’ve been shown the mystery!
I am not sure why God has me pushing so hard on this, last week with BE STILL and now this week with REST, but I know that for some of us slowing down long enough to REST, relax, refresh, refuel, and recharge. Actually it is something that we tend to laugh at, Ha, me, REST, I don’t have time to REST, but what you don’t realize is that your Heavenly Father has called each of us to REST for so many amazing reasons.
When we realize that God has given us REST as an opportunity for a: Balanced Life, for Worship, as a part of God’s Ultimate Plan, and that it is a Gift, we can see that maybe, just maybe today is the day that we can stop and learn to REST.