Rest in the midst of a weary world.

 

Are you weary? Are you heavy hearted? Are you grieving over joys departed? Do the tears flow down your cheeks unbidden? Have you sins that to men’s eyes are hidden?  Do you fear the gathering clouds of sorrow? Are you anxious what shall be tomorrow? Are you troubled at the thought of dying? For Christ’s coming kingdom are you sighing?

Does that sound like a song to you? That’s because it is. It’s “Tell it to Jesus”, an old school hymn that you may or may not hear at your church anymore.

Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus,
He is a Friend that’s well known.
You’ve no other such a friend or brother,
Tell it to Jesus alone.

 

God has repeatedly spoken to us from his word, and told us not to fear ( 365 times in the Bible!but one of my favourites is from Isaiah 41:10 10So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.),

He has asked us to come to Him for our daily needs, ( Matt 6:25-34 among others 25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your lifee28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.)

He has said He’ll be there for us in our times of crises , ( Isaiah 43:1-3 1But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob,he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 2When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. 3For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; ).

But He also says, He’ll give us rest. His yoke is light. Be still and trust Him. But do we really do that? Sit in His presence. Absorb His goodness. Know Him for the truth that He is. In a world that is so noisy with our smartphones, IPads, laptops and gizmos, we’ve always got something going on. A cute video to watch, a game to play, a post to like, a picture to post. Our seconds and minutes and hours are filled with something, or we fill with it something. Our work hours are increasing, we’re losing sleep , our families are all over the place,at school, at soccer, at ballet, at piano lessons, at….at…..at…..

God and His word gets the time that is leftover, sometimes not even that. A relationship with Him isn’t prioritized. And so, we ( myself included), especially me, lose focus. We’re little busy bees, running here, dashing there, checking this, writing that ( I’m doing that now!) that we’ve forgotten to rest. To be still. To quiet ourselves.

What is Rest? The dictionary defines it as

noun

1.

the refreshing quiet or repose of sleep:

a good night’s rest.

2.

refreshing ease or inactivity after exertion or labor:

to allow an hour for rest.

3.

relief or freedom, especially from anything that wearies, troubles, ordisturbs.

4.

a period or interval of inactivity, repose, solitude, or tranquillity:

to go away for a rest.

5.

mental or spiritual calm; tranquillity.

6.

the repose of death:

eternal rest.

7.

cessation or absence of motion:

to bring a machine to rest.
 
verb (used without object)

15.

to refresh oneself, as by sleeping, lying down, or relaxing.

16.

to relieve weariness by cessation of exertion or labor.

17.

to be at ease; have tranquillity or peace.

18.

to repose in death.

19.

to be quiet or still.

20.

to cease from motion, come to rest; stop.

21.

to become or remain inactive.
 
verb (used with object)

32.

to give rest to; refresh with rest:

to rest oneself.

33.

to lay or place for rest, ease, or support:

to rest one’s back against a tree.

34.

to direct (as the eyes):

to rest one’s eyes on someone.

35.

to base, or let depend, as on some ground of reliance.

36.

to bring to rest; halt; stop.

37.

Law. to terminate voluntarily the introduction of evidence on:

to rest one’s case.
Idioms

38.

at rest,

  1. in a state of repose, as in sleep.
  2. dead.
  3. quiescent; inactive; not in motion:
    the inertia of an object at rest.
  4. free from worry; tranquil:
    Nothing could put his mind at rest.

39.

lay to rest,

  1. to inter (a dead body); bury:
    He was laid to rest last Thursday.
  2. to allay, suppress, or appease.
Almost every meaning relates to stopping something in order to be refreshed. To be tranquil. To be rested. To be calm. To stop.
God commands it again and again( see list below), but why? Because He wants to give us Peace so overwhelming. Quiet that is so precious. Rest that is refreshing. Trust that will never be eroded. A burden lifted. A help in our time of trouble. I want it. I’m trying, again, to remember , He is in control. He knows what will happen. I can’t hasten anything. I can’t get anything done that wasn’t a part of His plan. When He tells me to rest, He’s looking out for me. He wants me to depend on Him, He wants me to be real with Him, let Him know what I’m feeling, when I’m rushed, when I’m overwhelmed, when I can’t do it all, when I’m not measuring up ( in my mind). And He wants me to come to Him, and tell Him about everything. He’ll lift my burden and give me rest.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.
Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
He said to them, “This is what the Lord commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of sabbath rest, a holy sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.’”
For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day is to be put to death.

It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’”

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

“Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.

For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a day of sabbath rest to theLord. Whoever does any work on it is to be put to death.

[ The Sabbath ] “‘There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the Lord.

“Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of sabbath rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts.

It is a day of sabbath rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath.”

“‘So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the Lord for seven days; the first day is a day of sabbath rest, and the eighth day also is a day of sabbath rest.

Then the Israelites set out from the Desert of Sinai and traveled from place to place until the cloud came to rest in the Desert of Paran.

So they set out from the mountain of the Lord and traveled for three days. The ark of the covenant of theLord went before them during those three days to find them a place to rest.

Whenever it came to rest, he said, “Return, Lord, to the countless thousands of Israel.”
but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do.

since you have not yet reached the resting place and the inheritance the Lord your God is giving you.

But you will cross the Jordan and settle in the land theLord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and he will give you rest from all your enemies around you so that you will live in safety.
About Benjamin he said: “Let the beloved of the Lordrest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.”

“Remember the command that Moses the servant of theLord gave you after he said, ‘The Lord your God will give you rest by giving you this land.’

until the Lord gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land theLord your God is giving them. After that, you may go back and occupy your own land, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you east of the Jordan toward the sunrise.”
So Joshua took the entire land, just as the Lord had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal divisions. Then the land had rest from war.
(Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba after Arba, who was the greatest man among the Anakites.) Then the land had rest from war.

The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hands.

Now that the Lord your God has given them rest as he promised, return to your homes in the land that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan.

[ Joshua’s Farewell to the Leaders ] After a long time had passed and the Lord had given Israel rest from all their enemies around them, Joshua, by then a very old man,
May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.” Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud

[ God’s Promise to David ] After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him,

and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies. “‘The Lord declares to you that the Lordhimself will establish a house for you:

When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom.
But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side, and there is no adversary or disaster.
“Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.

But you will have a son who will be a man of peace andrest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign.

He said to them, “Is not the Lord your God with you? And has he not granted you rest on every side? For he has given the inhabitants of the land into my hands, and the land is subject to the Lord and to his people.
For David had said, “Since the Lord, the God of Israel, has granted rest to his people and has come to dwell in Jerusalem forever,
He built up the fortified cities of Judah, since the land was at peace. No one was at war with him during those years, for the Lord gave him rest.

“Let us build up these towns,” he said to Judah, “and put walls around them, with towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God; we sought him and he has given us rest on every side.” So they built and prospered.

All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the Lord gave them rest on every side.
And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.
So we arrived in Jerusalem, where we rested three days.
This happened on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy.

For now I would be lying down in peace; I would be asleep and at rest

There the wicked cease from turmoil, and there the weary are at rest.
You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,
I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.
[ Psalm 91 ] Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.
The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.
In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.
All the lands are at rest and at peace; they break into singing.

to whom he said, “This is the resting place, let the weary rest”; and, “This is the place of repose”— but they would not listen.

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.

My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.

Desert creatures will meet with hyenas, and wild goats will bleat to each other; there the night creatures will also lie down and find for themselves places of rest.
Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they findrest as they lie in death.

I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest,

and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.

like cattle that go down to the plain, they were givenrest by the Spirit of the Lord. This is how you guided your people to make for yourself a glorious name.

Sharon will become a pasture for flocks, and the Valley of Achor a resting place for herds, for my people who seek me.
This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
This is what the Lord says: “The people who survive the sword will find favor in the wilderness; I will come to give rest to Israel.”
“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In this place, desolate and without people or animals—in all its towns there will again be pastures for shepherds to rest their flocks.
Yet their Redeemer is strong; the Lord Almighty is his name. He will vigorously defend their cause so that he may bring rest to their land, but unrest to those who live in Babylon.
I will turn Rabbah into a pasture for camels and Ammon into a resting place for sheep. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
“As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.”

And they reported to the angel of the Lord who was standing among the myrtle trees, “We have gone throughout the earth and found the whole world at restand in peace.”

Then he called to me, “Look, those going toward the north country have given my Spirit rest in the land of the north.”

Are these not the words the Lord proclaimed through the earlier prophets when Jerusalem and its surrounding towns were at rest and prosperous, and the Negev and the western foothills were settled?’”

If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you.

“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.
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope,
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
[ A Sabbath-Rest for the People of God ] Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.

For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day.

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;

for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.

Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.

 

1 Peter 4:14

If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence:
Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”

Psalm 46:10

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.

 

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