Our Sixteenth Word is Rest
The word rest can be defined as – A settled, favorable state in which one can find restoration.
“And now the Lord your God has given rest.” (Joshua 22:4)
Our language really does have some great words, very few as beguiling as “rest”. The mind can imagine a lot of different images, below are just a few:
- A cabana on a tropical island surrounded by sapphire blue water.
- A good book…a big leather chair by a fire…a snowy day off.
- A baby who’s finally given up his fierce fight against sleeping. Except for the infant’s chest barely moving up and down, absolute stillness.
It’s very doubtful that the Jewish tribes admiring their new place in the promised land had much experience with true rest. All those years wandering in the desert, constantly on the move. Followed by all that hard work of driving out Canaan’s no so neighborly occupants.
Now, the rest God offered Israel conveys the ideas of stopping and settling in. After the tumultuous flood, Noah’s ark came to rest on “the mountains of Ararat”. The word also suggests peacefulness, thus the Old Testament references to sacrifices giving off a soothing aroma.
To be at rest is to be in a place of peace and stillness, free from worry, full of joy.
Biblical rest means cessation from toil and strain, from needing to figure everything out on your own, from feeling like it’s all on you to salvage things. Rest means going off duty. it’s rooted in trust, in the conviction that God sees and cares, protects and provides. Rest is the comfort of knowing that when we’re sleeping, our Almighty Father is awake.
The Biblical rest also means to surrender. it’s waving the proverbial “white flag” and saying, “I’m laying down my weapons in my private war against life, my ceaseless efforts to control outcomes and people.”
So, when do we enter into such rest? We find that it is restorative, it revives and reenergizes us. Afterward we then feel renewed and replenished when we rest in the Lord.
God designed our world with a work life rhythm built right into it. One day in seven, called the Sabbath is earmarked for stopping, unplugging, retreating, and remembering. Do you take advantage of this day of the week to simply rest?
When you think of the topic of rest, do you hear yourself perhaps, sigh? That almost certainly is an indicator of un-rest. You are more than likely a restless soul.
But there’s good news. You don’t have to stay that way. Hear this invitation from Jesus: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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.” (Matthew 11: 28-29)
Questions to Ponder
- What goes through your mind when you hear the word “rest”?
- Why do you think so many people including many Christians, are so “restless”?