Posted by: Jo | February 10, 2017

Make Every Effort To Rest

“Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest…”

(Hebrews 4: 11)

I love writing and I love words, especially words that roll off the tongue and have such a fascinating meaning. rest01One such word is, oxymoron.  It is fun to say and so much fun to add to the list of odd sayings that fall into that category. We all say them without realising, e.g. youthful senior, act naturally, plastic glasses, pretty ugly, civil war, new classic. (I am sure you are all thinking of some good ones right now.)

So, when we were studying Hebrews in our Bible study class I was surprised to read making an effort and rest in the one sentence. It seemed an oxymoron to put effort and rest together, so I began to explore why the writer of Hebrews would coin those two words.

The children of Israel first heard this beautiful promise when God spoke to Moses, assuring him that his presence would go with then to the promised land and they would find rest.

“The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”” (Exodus 33: 14) 

This beautiful promise of rest meant a lot to the Psalmists and they began to get a deeper understanding of what God was promising. David realised that true rest could only be achieved through seeking God.

“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.” (Psalm 62: 1)

Getting enough rest is a common mantra in today’s stressful lifestyle many live. We are often told how important it is to sleep so many hours a night, to remain healthy. God’s rest has a much deeper meaning and life changing effect on our lives. He is offering rest from all that besets us, rest from constant worry, a rest from anxiety, rest from carrying any burden weighing us down, rest from sorrow. rest02

But first of all, we do have to make sure we are very close to the Heavenly Father so we can really absorb all the benefits of the sort of rest he is offering us.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91: 1)

Psalm 91 (one of my favourites) goes on to outline the great benefits of being in the protection of that mighty shadow and when I read it I think it sounds like an insurance contract and I feel like shouting at the end

I am signing up for that!

Jesus also extends this beautiful offer to those who choose to follow him; rest03

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11: 28)

Again, some effort is needed to get to that rest. We have to come to him. Too often we spend needless energy trying to fix problems in our own strength not realising we can creep into the protection of that mighty shadow and allow the rest that the Father has promise take over.

One of my favourite quotes about rest comes from St Augustine;

“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” 

 

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Responses

  1. We say “rest in peace” for those who have died but I’ve always tended to aquate rest with sleep. Maybe I should think “refresh” instead of “rest”. Thanks once again Jo for making me think.

    Liked by 1 person


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