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Wednesday, October 10, 2012
“If they shall enter into my rest” Hebrew 4:5
Rest. God rested and He wasn't even tired! After six days of creative power, God rested from all His labors, and made that day of rest a holy day. The writer of Hebrews says, "For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest," Hebrews 4:4,5. That is almost an awkwardly-written verse, isn't it? "If they shall enter into my rest." Upon closer examination, we see a few things: one being that rest belongs to God -- "my rest"; second being that God has made it available to me -- "they shall enter"; third being that access to God's rest is a personal choice -- "if." Wow! God has a rest that I can have if I want to have it!
I realize that God's rest involves Heaven, and I acknowledge that His rest speaks of salvation, but I believe that God has practical rest for us in this world as well. Consider Psalm 127:2, "It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep." Sleep is a gift from God. God caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam, and Peter had to be hit on the side by an angel to wake him up in prison the night before his execution. Yes, I believe God, Who can give me eternal rest, can also give me a good night’s sleep. If God can give me a work-free salvation, then I believe He can help me to live without being totally run-down with exhaustion.
This brings up three important aspects of rest. Examine these in context with your life and see if you can get some well-deserved rest from the labors of this life.
Physical Rest. This is the least important of the three. Physical activity is not only good, it is necessary, but so is physical rest. I think we really have this out of balance today. Millions get too little activity, and millions more get too little rest. You need to get moving physically, especially if you have a mentally-geared job. You also need to let that body recover from physical exertion. Remember, though, leisure is not always rest. That is why we are so tired after a vacation. We had leisure but no rest. Don't make the mistake of always replacing work with some other activity. Give time to a slow, contemplative experience. During this time, stay away from headphones, televisions, computers, etc.
Emotional Rest. This is much more important than physical rest. Emotional rest and physical rest go hand in hand; however, stilling the body does not always quiet the mind. Paul said, "Study to be quiet," I Thess. 4:11. You have to seek out quiet in this world. Lights and noises are to our left, and people and actions are to our right. Even in the walls of our homes, televisions blare seven hours a day, music is played loudly, and there is not quietness. "Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit" Eccl. 4:6. When we do things God's way, we choose a life of quietness. "And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever" Isaiah 32:17.
Spiritual Rest. When our bodies find rest, we feel refreshed. When our emotions find rest, our countenance is lifted. Yet relaxed muscles and minds are little things compared to the rest in the acceptance of God. The Sabbath taught us that there was a time to stop our dominion work and worship the dominion Giver. We stop filling our cupboards and instead bring offerings to Him. Spiritual rest is laying aside the yoke of work and willingly taking on the yoke of fellowship and service with Christ. It is a rest where we learn of Him and worship Him. We will only find this all-important rest through surrender. "Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him; fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way" Psalm 37:7.