Joshua: The Promised Land of Rest
Several years ago, the Reader’s Digest published a list of the most beautiful words in the English language. I do not remember all of them, but I do remember “morning”, “love” and “rest”. Isn’t the concept of rest/resting a beautiful concept? I think of a nap during a thunderstorm or just pausing during a hike or bike ride to enjoy the scenery. If you have a physical job, you know how important it is to get your rest when you can. My job is anything but physical, so I use physical activity as my time of “rest” in addition to getting proper relaxation and sleep. However you slice it, the idea of taking a rest (an evening out, a good TV show, a good meal in a good restaurant, a vacation, etc.), is attractive and important. Have you considered the many times in the Scripture that God’s children are promised rest?
Monday…Matthew 11:28-30 is an extremely oft-quoted passage wherein the Lord Jesus promises rest to those who are yoked to Him. Can you see an yoke of oxen in your mind? Now imagine that Jesus and you are ‘yoked’ together. Who do you think is doing most of the pulling? Who is supporting you in this endeavor/image? Read this critical passage and notice that the burden is light and rest is promised when we are yoked to our Lord.
Tuesday…God promised the Israelites a time of rest when they would take possession of the land promised to them. When they obeyed God, this rest remained; when they disobeyed, the rest was removed and they faced uncertainty, evil, war, calamity, confusion and fear. Proverbs 13:15 reminds us that the “way of sinners is hard.” It certainly is! How much better to choose to obey and enter the rest that God has promised.
Wednesday…When my father returned home from WW II in 1945, he enrolled in the old Cincinnati Bible Seminary to begin his study for the ministry. He met and married my mother in 1946. In a few conversations I had with him, he told me that he was amazed at the peace he felt after the war was behind him. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be at war. I do know, however, what it feels like to be in a spiritual war. So does every other Christian. Isaiah 14:3,4 is a passage you have not read in a long time. Take a few moments and read it now and realize that when the “king of Babylon” (in a metaphorical sense) is defeated, we will have an enduring rest!
Thursday…Is there a more loved passage in the Bible than Psalm 23? I am hesitant to pick out a favorite verse or chapter, but this is a marvelous piece of literature that reveals God’s plans for His people. The writer of Hebrews likewise draws our attention to the fact that God has planned a time of rest for His people. Folks, some day our battles will be over. Some day Satan, his followers and his influence will be gone. On that blessed day, we will enter the rest promised to us by our loving Heavenly Father. What a thought!
Friday…God rested from his labors on the seventh day after His creative work was complete. As a result of God ‘resting’ from His labors, He ordained the seventh day as a Sabbath for the purpose of rest. God promises in Hebrews 4:9-11 that there is a Sabbath rest for His people which remains. As long as we are in this world, the rest is postponed. The battle remains. We are to work “for the night is coming when no man can work.” But in all of this, we know there is a rest in our future and we look forward to that rest.
by Dale Holzbauer