by Phillip Greene
Rest is a key factor in our everyday lives, and it seems to be a common theme throughout the scriptures. As I have printed before, being busy can really hamper our Christian growth as we move forward in our lives.
One of the central themes of many of the Psalms is rest. Psalm 23 states that “He makes me lie down in green pastures; He restores my soul.” Psalm 95 paints the picture of a rest that is provided by God to His people: “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work. For forty years I loathed that generation and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways.” Therefore I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter my rest.” — Psalm 95:6-11 (ESV).
The rest that the Psalmist is speaking to is the rest that God promises us…a rest that can only be found in all-out devotion to Him.
The Sabbath was set aside for rest under the law to give the people a day to reflect, relax, and renew themselves, but too many of us today run ourselves into the ground by letting ourselves over-commit our schedules. The fast pace of today’s world has caused many to lose sight of the Lord in their lives. We become too wrapped up in our plans to stop and see the plans that God has for us.
If we would take the time to rest, we would find a renewal of strength that only the Lord can provide. We must humble ourselves to receive the blessings that God intends for us, but we must make sure that we are not too busy to see when they come our way.
I would like to encourage each of you to look deep into your heart and see where your priorities lie.
The only way for us to fully rest is to take the time to get to know our God, and the only way to do that is to read His word. We must fully immerse ourselves in the Word of God to really get to know Him. For that reason, we need to get to know His Word so that we can make sure we are living the way we should, as well as making sure that we can discern the lies that the world will throw our way.
The importance of this rest is seen in Hebrews 3 and 4 where the writer explores the words of Psalm 95 and then details the importance of this rest. As we look deeper into this topic, we see that we must find the time to relax and separate ourselves from the world to fully clear our minds. Today, too many times, we find ourselves fully wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of life, filling our schedule with so much that we barely have time to sleep.
Rest is valued by God. We see this in Genesis in the story of the Creation. God worked for six days and rested on the seventh to sit back and reflect on all He had done, seeing that it was good. God felt that rest was important, and it gave Him time to look over His work. We should take this same approach to our lives. If we never rest, we never have time to reflect on where we stand.
We see in Hebrews that those who do not rest will not find rest. God places this rest as a way for us to renew and refresh, but if we do not help ourselves find this rest, we will never find the rest that God gives.
The writer of Hebrews reflects on the Psalmist’s words, “Today, If you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…” He then recounts the story of Joshua and states that there is a Sabbath rest for the people of God because anyone entering God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did.
The final plea comes in encouraging the Hebrews to enter that rest so that none will fall into disobedience. The writer then proceeds to discuss the change in the old law, stating that Jesus is now our high priest.
“14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV)
Find your rest today, draw near to the throne of grace in full confidence and receive the blessings you need in your time of trouble. We have everything we need in Christ Jesus, our Lord, and Savior.
Phillip Greene has been Pastor at Newland Christian Church since 2016. He has been Station Manager at Glory1130 in Newland since 2012 and is active in the local community as a Coach and Public Address Announcer for Avery Athletics. You can access Newland’s sermons online at www.newlandchristianchurch.com/sermons or an archive of his articles at phillipgreene.wordpress.com