March 24 I Sunday

Joshua 16-18

Luke 2:1-24

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works… Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest…” —Hebrew 4:9-11

 

There is a human experience of rest that corresponds with the divine experience of God’s rest, which the writer of Hebrews defines as “God’s Sabbath-rest.” More than 2,000 years later, the author looks back on the Israelites’ wanderings in the desert and warns us to be very careful we do not have a Gospel that merely reconciles us to God.

But what does Scripture mean by rest? Why did God rest at the end of creation on the seventh day? Was it because He was tired? Of course not! God is inexhaustible and does not tire. He rested on the seventh day because He was finished. The Sabbath rest is not a picture of exhaustion but of sufficiency. That is why Adam’s first day was a day of rest. He was created on the sixth day and could have said to God, “What are we doing tomorrow?” and God could have replied, “It is a day off.” Why did Adam have a day off on the first day of his life? Because he was demonstrating the principle of resting in God’s sufficiency.

The Christian calendar caught up with this principle after Jesus ascended to heaven and the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out from heaven. Today we rest on the first day of the week, symbolically portraying that truth. God rested on the seventh day; man was to rest on the first day in dependence on God. That is why the Christian life is called a life of rest, not a life of quietism. We were designed to act in dependence on God, not to sit back and say, “I am just depending on God” but do nothing.

As Christians, our rest is not one of passivism. It is a rest that is beautifully described in Psalm 62:1, which says, “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him.” And in verses 5-8, “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honour depend on
God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in
Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.”

What is David saying there? That we are to trust in God at all times and rest in His sufficiency, His strength and His presence. We experience the divine rest of God by combining our trust in Him with what we know about Him and then living in complete dependence on His everyday involvement in our lives.

Prayer: You are my rock and my refuge, Lord. I ask that You help me live every day in dependence on You and thank You for the rest we have in You.


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