Friday, March 7, 2008

Love's Rest

“For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, in repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength.”
(Isaiah 30:15 NASU)

Godly repentance includes,

  1. A true sense of one’s own guilt and sinfulness;
  2. An apprehension of God’s love, mercy and the outpouring of grace in the person of Christ Jesus;
  3. An actual hatred of sin (Psalms 119:128; Job 42:5,6; 2nd Corinthians 7:10) and turning from transgressions of God’s law (sin) to faith in God through His Son Jesus; and
  4. A persistent endeavor after a holy life in expressions of love toward God through obedience to His commandments.

To love our Creator, our heavenly Father, is to enter into His rest, for love of God brings peace and quietness to the soul. The enmity of the sinful flesh has been removed in Christ Jesus; we now have peace with our Father.

The same is true of our fellowman. If we have love for one another we have peace in our souls, for again, all enmity is removed in Christ Jesus. To love one another is to love God and death no longer has any power over us (1st John 5:1-4).

Jesus says,

“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 WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 NASU)

Here, rest as trust in God’s divine care and guidance, becomes symbolic of salvation itself. Therefore, rest for man’s soul ultimately involves a relinquishing of human self assertion, a letting go of even the desire for human control, and turning to a total trust in God’s care and guidance.

The yoke is a symbol of subjection or enslavement to burdensome labor. Here our Lord is saying, put off the yoke of slavery to sin, ritualistic worship or worthless works and take upon you My yoke of rest. Unlike the taskmaster of slavery our Lord says, “--- learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” God’s children must learn from their Lord to be gentle and humble in heart.

The Psalmist exhorts us to "rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him (Psalms 37:7 KJV).

“Be silent to the Lord.” The Hebrew word means to be mute, silent, still: (Job 29:21; Leviticus 10:3; Lamentations 3:28). Hence, to be silent to anyone; that is, to listen to Him in silence; and the idea in the phrase here, “be silent to Jehovah,” is that of waiting in silent patience or confidence for His interposition; or, in other words, of leaving the whole matter with him without being anxious as to the result.

Willingness to rest is a sign of commitment to God; it is also viewed as freedom from anxiety. Moses paints a picture of “the beloved of the Lord” as someone who “rests in safety” and “rests between [God’s] shoulders” (Deuteronomy 33:12 NRSV). Also, in divine rest there is a refreshing of the soul.

The Prophet Isaiah writes,

“Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”
(Isaiah 40:31 NASU)

The word rendered “wait” here, denotes properly to wait, in the sense of expecting. The phrase, “to wait on Yahweh,” means to wait for His help; that is, to trust in Him, to put our hope or confidence in Him. Those who wait for the Lord may be seen as the farmer who plants and cultivates his crops as he patiently waits upon the early and the latter rain---and then comes the harvest; the time of the gathering of the fruits of his labors.

“ (God) Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”
(Psalms 103:5 NASWU)

It has been a common and popular opinion that the eagle lives and retains his rigor to a great age; and, beyond the common lot of other birds, he molts in his old age, and renews his feathers, and with them his youth. And thus the metaphor, “so that your youth is renewed like the eagle” and “they will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles.”

“And the work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.”
(Isaiah 32:17 NASU)

Righteousness works and produces peace. If righteousness is cultivated the harvest is peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Spirit, and a sure and certain hope of everlasting life.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
(1st Peter 5:6-7 NASU)
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
(Philippians 4:6-7 NASU)

Anxiety about daily needs or worldly gains robs God’s children of their peace, quietness, confidence, faith and joy, thus they become weak and faint hearted. Jesus urges His children to cease from anxious striving, as they trust in Him to supply their needs (Matthew 6:25-32).

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Matthew 6:33-34 NASU)

The lesson taught here is: do not let the cares of the world distract you. Keep your focus on the kingdom of God and His righteousness; that is where your riches are; they are not in this world.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!”
(Philippians 4:4 NASU)


James C Sanford

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