From time to time I like to read the 23rd Psalm. The message I receive is peace, comfort and rest. Common English version reads like this, “The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing. He lets me rest in grassy meadows; he leads me to restful waters.” Psalm 23:2-3. For weeks I have been thinking about that word rest.
This morning I looked up several different scriptures concerning rest. As you can imagine there are multiple types of rest and a different meaning for each.
The first scripture is in Leviticus 16:31 is addressing the Day of Atonement made by Aaron for all the people of Israel. “It will be a Sabbath of special rest for you, and you will deny yourselves. This is a permanent rule.” The meaning of rest in Hebrew is a special holiday. It is a day always set aside to celebrate that your sins are cleansed.
Leviticus 23:3 says, “Work can be done for six days, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of special rest, a holy occasion. You must not do any work on it; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the LORD.” CEB. The meaning here is to settle down, cease. It means you stop! Yes, you set aside the day and cease the busyness to bask in the presence of Yahweh. This Sabbath rest was for all people. No one was excluded.
“Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.” NASV. Rest in this verse means to be still, stop. Obviously it is addressing anguish over the wicked prospering when perhaps you are not. You cannot rest if you have inner turmoil about whether God knows what He is doing in another’s life.
Now let’s look at some verses in the New Testament. In Matthew 11:28-30 there are two different times rest is mentioned.. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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 SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS, For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.” NASV. The first mention of rest means to lie down, refresh. You unload all the stuff! The second time it is mentioned it means recreation. I find this very interesting. It makes me think of how a vacation begins. It takes you a day to unwind, get refreshed and then afterwards you are ready for recreation that you can enjoy.
The last verse is Hebrews 4:3, “For only we who believe can enter his rest. As for the others, God said, “In my anger I took an oath; They will never enter my place of rest,” even though this rest has been ready since he made the world.” Rest in this verse means abode. It is a place where you dwell. It is a provision given to his children since creation but because we have disbelief we do not enter into it. It’s as if God has designed a special place just for you, custom-made but you cannot believe it is real so instead of walking into a position of rest you struggle and live apart from the gift He gave.
God has given us REST! He has rest packaged in different boxes ready for us to open but sometimes we make things so complicated we miss it. I think we sometimes just need to close our eyes and picture the different ways God has painted the meanings of rest He has for us. Just imagine composing yourself and unloading all the junk that you are carrying. Imagine laying down in a green, lush meadow surrounded by cool breezes. Feel the refreshing when you are free from cares and celebrate the Sabbath rest He has set aside just for you. When we unload the cares, busyness, agendas, etc., and walk into His rest we are fueled in our spirits and ready to continue the journey. Let’s lay aside the idea that we have to DO something in ourselves to make it happen. Simply walk into the God’s Day Spa and REST!
Living by the brook,