Rest

Rest is something that this world is always striving for. Every one of us tries to find some sort of rest, whether it be rest from work, rest from financial difficulties, rest from the pressures of life, or even rest from the children for five minutes! The world is constantly coming up with new ways to make our lives easier and to give us rest. But nothing in this world can do that. While we can and should enjoy the good things in this life, we can't look to them for true rest. True rest is only found in one place. Jesus said, "Come to me, all who labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt 11:28).

Rest is the gift of God to His obedient people. Isaiah 32 shows us the King bringing rest to his people as a result of righteousness: "My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places." But for people who are disobedient, there is no such promise. In fact there is the opposite. Psalm 95:11 talks about the people who have hardened their hearts (95:8) and gone astray (95:10) - "Therefore I swore in my wrath, "They shall not enter my rest.""

Christians have a small understanding of this gift now but we can't even imagine what it will be like in full. Christians around the world struggle with hardship in varying forms. Taking up your cross every day is a hard thing to do. But while we struggle in this world we can look to the next where we will have perfect rest. And that rest will be all the sweeter for having had hardship before. In his 'Saints Everlasting Rest' Richard Baxter says this: "If thou prosper in the world, and thy labour succeed, let it make thee more sensible of thy perpetual prosperity: if thou be weary of thy labours, let it make thy thoughts of rest more sweet: if things go cross and hard with thee in the world, let it make thee the more earnestly desire that day when all thy sorrows and sufferings shall cease."

We should long for that day - for the day when we will experience true rest. We will be with God forever and where God is, His people can be at rest. Exodus 33 tells us of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. Moses is speaking to the LORD and He gives to Moses a promise: "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." God's blessing to His people is His presence and... rest.

Ruth Field


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2 comments:

  1. Samuel Mackereth7 June 2010 at 17:32

    Thanks for the reminder Ruth, As Paul says if Christ was not risen and we had no hope for future rest we would be "Of all men most miserable." One question does rest in heaven consist of rest from work, for which man was created, or only rest from the pain of working in a cursed world? And does work in heaven consist only of praising god directly or does it involve serving him and governing his creation as in this world?

    Sam.

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  2. Interesting questions, Samuel! I don't suppose we'll ever know for certain until we get there but, my father leans towards the position of eternity being something like what the Garden of Eden was before the Fall. I like that idea. it could be completely wrong, of course, but something 'completely different' seems a little scary to me - and I don't think God wants us to get bored in heaven!

    You said, "work, for which man was created" - that has raised my curiousity, because I always thought man was created for the glory of God. The only verse (that I can think of) that suggests that man was created for work is Ephesians 2:10, which talks about being predestined for good works. Were you thinking of a verse in particular or the idea that man's first task was to look after the Garden of Eden?

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