Rest: verb (this is a doing or action word) 1. Cease work or movement in order to relax, sleep or recover strength. 2. Be placed or supported so as to stay in a specified position. noun (being word) 1. An instance or period of resting. 2. An interval of silence of a specified duration.
Come to me … and you will find rest for your soul.
It is so easy to pick up the stresses and pressures of everyday life. This is such a key verse. The command is to go to GOD …. the promise when you do, you will find rest for your soul.
When we come to GOD we will be in a position of not working but a place of recovering strength. It is a place of support and stillness. It may even be a time of silence.
I am so grateful to my GOD that He not only heals my body and quenches my thirsty spirit but also cares for my soul. He cares not just about the things that everyone sees but wants me to be whole and complete on the inside too. He knows that if my soul is troubled and weary everything will be affected.
I don’t know if you have noticed, but when exhausted, us humans can make some very poor decisions and have quick tempers. We can become selfish and grumpy … or is that only me?! Those pressures and stresses weigh us down, play on our minds, cause us to worry and maybe even panic. They can even affect our physical sleep.
Jesus’ command to come and find rest is conditional. He says ‘Come to me, all who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.’ The condition is your need. Do you need him? Do you see yourself as weary and heavy burdened? Some things are obvious as burdensome, but not everything is as clearly labelled! It is easy to think that we can carry all sorts of pressures, stresses, worries, circumstances, people etc … but do we see that we are weary and heavy burdened with it? The thing is, if we want to do life on our terms and be in control of everything around us, we will not see our need. We will keep on burdening ourselves with stuff … and then add more to it each hour, day, week, month … year. Have you looked at the burden that you are carrying? Do you have a need for rest?
The contradiction is that GOD’s yoke (the harness for guiding oxen) is easy and His burden is light. Yet we reject this and instead we continue to pile on our own burden and let it weigh us down. By taking the burden of the world we think that we are doing GOD a favour in some way. If we worry about our kids, complain about the state of the nation, get anxious about that mystery lump … it feels like we are doing something about it, we are being active in some way, but all the time we are just carrying a burden that was not designed to be carried on our shoulders.
Have you noticed that when we (eventually) come to GOD in prayer over these things that the weight is lifted? That is because He wants to carry that burden! He tells us to teach our children in the way they should go, pray for our leaders and not be anxious about anything … as far as I can see His instructions throughout the Bible do not include trying to sort out and control the outcome of everything on earth! GOD is big enough to carry all our burdens, if you choose to carry them instead it speaks volumes about your heart and your perception of the majesty of GOD.
Whatever we are given to do, should not be done in our own strength but in trusting and resting in Him. The action we must take is to give our burdens to Him and take His burden instead.
Have you ever noticed that in the Bible, often a lesson is taught and then it is reinforced? The story that follows this verse shows the religious authorities complaining at the disciples ‘working’ on a Sabbath, the day of rest. The ‘working’ was picking grain and eating it. The law said that on this specific day of rest that all work was forbidden. This is a perfect illustration of what a religious heart does; it takes something that GOD had set out to give the Israelites freedom and then makes it a law. GOD gave the law because His people needed to stop being slaves and become His children. He wanted them to rest, to know that resting was good for them and to take time out to purposefully rest, so much so that He put systems in place in the Old Testament with His nomadic people.
The authorities could not work their way around the law. Their need to fulfil the Law made them blind to the need to rest. They were actually burdening themselves with technicalities and ideas that had to be obeyed in order for them to save themselves. They burdened themselves with having to be their own saviour.
The disciples, however, being with Jesus, are walking in his grace. Jesus goes on to say that he, the Son of Man, is Lord of the Sabbath (V8), the Lord of the day of rest and worship. His lordship is the reason we can come to him and find rest.
Here is the promise for me and you to run to, to shelter in and to soak up today. We will find rest for a troubled or weary soul when we go to Him.