Archive for December 22nd, 2014

(NB:  I’m not talking about resting the body after laboring, although this also appears in the Bible.)

Huh? REST? Why would God want to give us that? Why should we even care?

Rest means things like peace of mind, the ability to really relax, sleeping well at night, and feeling free of cares, stress, worries and anxieties. Those benefits aren’t flashy, but they are crucial to getting the most out of life. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a mansion, or on vacation in an island paradise, or covered in jewels, or surrounded by fabulous people, or experiencing amazing success, if you can’t REST, if you’re plagued by worries, drained by stress, etc, you will find far less pleasure in these things… maybe none at all. We have certainly had endless examples of wealthy and privileged people who are miserable, right? Rest, like health, is one of those things that is the foundation for everything else in life… and health is strongly affected by whether or not we have rest, so rest is perhaps the most basic need of all. There are people with terrible illnesses and disabilities that still have a good quality of life because they have inner peace; if you lack rest, you can be in perfect health and you won’t be happy.

Given the enormous importance of rest, we can be sure that this is something that God wants to give us. But how many of us ever ask for it? Many of our requests to Him involve glamorous careers, finding the perfect mate, or having lots of great friends… even though none of these things is mentioned in the Bible anywhere. Money is another top request, and although there are a few mentions of God wanting to make us prosperous, it’s a minor thing, scripturally speaking. Rest, however, is mentioned, and promised, many times in the Bible. One of the most familiar verses in the Bible is an image of rest:

Psalm 23:2 (KJV)
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

Jesus is referred to as the Prince of Peace:

Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)
6 … And he will be called… Prince of Peace.

and peace is closely connected to rest. And although of course it also often refers to the absence of war, peace appears many times in the Bible as one of God’s gifts where it’s clear that it means inner peace. But rest is also specifically referred to over and over. I don’t pretend to have a complete list, but look at how this theme repeats:

Isaiah 30:15 (NIV)
15 This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation

Isaiah 32:18 (NLT)
18 My people will live in safety, quietly at home. They will be at rest.

Exodus 33:14 (NIV)
14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Job 34:29 (YLT)
29 And He giveth rest

2 Samuel 7:11 (NLT)
11 … I will give you rest from all your enemies

Joshua 1:13 (HCSB)
13 “Remember what Moses the Lord’s servant commanded you when he said, ‘The Lord your God will give you rest

1 Kings 5:4 (ESV)
4 But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side. There is neither adversary nor misfortune.

1 Kings 8:56 (NIV)
56 “Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised.

Jeremiah 6:16 (NIRV)
16 … Ask for the good path, and walk on it. Then your hearts will find rest in me

Zephaniah 3:17 (NCV)
3 … You will REST in his love…

Psalm 37:7 (NKJV)
7  REST in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him

Psalm 62:1 (NIV 1984)
My soul finds REST in God alone; my salvation comes from him

Psalm 62:5 (NIV 1984)
Find REST, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.

Psalm 116:7 (NKJV)
7 Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you

Psalm 127:2 (NLT)
2 … God gives rest to his loved ones

Hebrews 4:3 (NKJV)
3 For we who have believed do enter that REST

And while I was working on this post, this verse was used in the movie I was watching (so I guess God approves this post!!):

Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

And, if you’re wicked, look what you miss out on:

Isaiah 57:20 (NIV)
20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea,
    which cannot rest

It’s all about REST.  God wants to give it to you;  ask Him, and trust in Him, and He’ll bless you with it.

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