January 17, 2023

Begin Resting In God Today

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. Hebrews 4:9-11

The Dead Sea is five times saltier than ocean water; and consequently, it’s almost impossible for someone to drown in it. A certain visitor to the area, not knowing this, fell off a pier into the water and wildly began to flail his arms and legs because he couldn’t swim.

The minerals in the water stung his eyes and only multiplied his distress. After several minutes of churning the waters, the man gave up, thinking surely he was about to die when his body began to rest quietly in the water. At that point, a local area resident calmly reached down with an extended arm and pulled him to safety.

“Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity,” someone said. And that’s true. But getting to the point of exhausting your resources and attempts to help yourself and allowing God to lift you out of your difficulty is not without a great deal of struggle.

When God led the children of Israel into the Promised Land, so wrote the writer of the book of Hebrews, God gave them rest. Here’s how he put it: “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:9-11).

There comes a point in your life when you realize you are not in control, that the difficulties out there are more than you can handle, and you realize God is the only one who can handle this. Only then are you a candidate for God’s grace and help.

Four steps are necessary for this to happen, and you can take the word rest, r-e-s-t, and form an acrostic with these guidelines.

The R stands for relax. That’s when you cease from your own striving and turn things over to the Lord. Like the man thrashing and flailing his arms, you are trying to do what only God can do. The first step is to stop and commit things to him. Talking about their financial situation, a wife told her husband, “There is nothing we can do now but pray.” Alarmed, her husband replied, “Has it really come to that?”

The E in the word rest stands for enter into His peace. This is an act of your will whereby you commit yourself to what God tells you about yourself, about the circumstances facing you, and about the future. It’s the attitude of the psalmist who said, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me.”

The S in that word rest stands for step out in faith. Why worry, if you really believe God is in control? This, of course, means that you settle the issue of whether or not you believe God is big enough, powerful enough, and cares enough to do what He has promised in His word. What you do after that is either a step of faith, or you turn and head back towards the Egypt of the world. When God’s people crossed the Jordan there was no going back. Safety is not the absence of danger but the presence of the Lord.

The T in the word rest stands for trust. Faith has two components: belief, which is intellectual; and trust, which is personal, experiential, and appropriational. It’s what describes a cool response to a hot situation. It’s turning off the light at night as you say, “Lord, you take over the night shift. There’s no sense in both of us staying awake worrying about this,” realizing that God is in control.

Resource reading: Isaiah 30:15-18