Come home, find rest!

I love being at ‘home!’  Home is where things are familiar, where I have a sense of security. The pictures on the wall say, “This is Jerry’s place!”  When I pull into my driveway, I anticipate stepping inside the door, pulling off my boots, turning on some music, being home. There is another kind of ‘being at home’ that is important, too, knowing that we are secure in God’s love, that we have a place in this world and the next that He’s prepared for us. The Bible calls this ‘entering God’s rest.’

Joshua, appointed by God to lead the people of Israel into Canaan, the Promised Land, told them that their rootless, nomadic wandering was about to come to an end. God was giving them a home.

“Remember the command that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: ‘The LORD your God is giving you rest and has granted you this land.’  … the LORD gives them rest, … the possession of the land that the LORD your God is giving them.” (Joshua 1:13-15, NIV) These former slaves who had lived in tents for a whole generation, moving around in the wilderness of the Sinai, were now going to be able to settle in villages and cities, plant crops, build wealth – and be at home.

In the book of Hebrews, we learn from their experience that God has prepared a home for us, too. No, it’s not a holy land or a place on this earth. We are spiritually invited into rest, to leave our wilderness wandering in life, to be ‘at home’ in His love. “So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who enter into God’s rest will find rest from their labors, just as God rested after creating the world. Let us do our best to enter that place of rest. For anyone who disobeys God, as the people of Israel did, will fall.” (Hebrews 4:9-11, NLT)  

The primary meaning of the passage is salvation, that we find assurance of God’s love and restoration of our relationship to Him through Christ. We turn from our own efforts to become good enough for God, a futile effort to be sure that leads to endless struggle, to ‘rest’ fully in the grace given us by Jesus. At the invitation of the Spirit, our soul comes ‘home,’ and we know we are God’s children. Are you still unsure of His love? Do you feel unsettled when you think of His will?  The answer is not ‘more work,’ but to take the proffered gift of rest!

For those who are ‘in Christ’ there is a further invitation: to lay aside all the stress and struggle that come with trying to make life into what we think it ought to be

Our God invites us to “Give it a rest!”  Peter reminds us to “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7, NIV)  Jesus says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” (Matthew 11:28-29, The Message) He also tells us that for all our worrying we cannot ‘add a single hour to life!’  God does not ask us to minimize our concerns or to pretend that life has no stress, but He invites us to let Him care, to entrust those things that we cannot control to Him. By faith we can choose to enter into a place of rest, even in the most difficult of circumstances. 

This is not an invitation to apathy, resignation to fate, or laziness! The Lord provides rest, but we must possess it with faithful obedience, following Him. Daily, we choose to enter His rest. He offers it, we accept, and like the ancient people of Israel who had to cross the Jordan and take the land, we leave old ways and let Him lead us to newness of life. God’s rest is not about retiring from life, about finding a place away from engagement with the world. He wants us to learn to work with Him. When we learn to work with His strength, we multiply our effectiveness.

Read Jesus’ words, again, from a different translation of the Scripture. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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, NIV)   “Come home,” He says, “where you can know my peace.”

Pause for a moment right now and thank God for His offer of a rest, a home, the security of His loving grace. Then, enter into the promise, by faith. The word from the Word for today – “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7, NIV)
________

Abba, the conspiracy of evil will attempt to
draw me into hurry and worry.

In that place, I know that You are not honored,
nor do I do my best work.

So, remind me often to be ‘at home’ in Your love,
At rest in Your gift of grace.

Teach me to work with You,
To release to Your care those things over which I have little control,
To walk obediently so that Your peace can keep me.
As You bless me, may I be a blessing to others.
In Jesus’ name. Amen
 __________________

Only In God

Only in God, is my soul at rest.
In Him comes my salvation.|
Only in God, is my soul at rest.
In Him comes my salvation.
He only is my Rock,
My strength and my salvation.

My stronghold, my Savior,
I shall not be afraid at all.
My stronghold, my Savior,
I shall not be moved.

Only in God is found safety,
When my enemy pursues me.
Only in God is found glory,
When I am found meek and found lowly.

Only in God 
John Michael Talbot © 1980 Birdwing Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing; Admin. by BMG Music Publishing) / BMG Songs, Inc. (Mech) (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing; Admin. by BMG Music Publishing)

CCLI License No. 810055

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