iTV | University | Store

Discovering God’s Rest

As the heat of August settles on the northern hemisphere, people are scrambling for shade and an opportunity to simply “chill.” They want respite from the heat and, if possible, respite from responsibilities. Heat-fatigued people want rest. The dictionary defines rest as a physical condition, a spiritual condition, and a place. Physically, rest is a bodily state characterized by minimal activity. Spiritually, rest is freedom from raging passions and agitating concerns. Geographically, rest is the location where rest occurs.

Rest is the primary idea in Psalm 23:2-3, “He has me lie down in grassy pastures, he leads me by quiet water, he restores my inner person.” In this passage, the Hebrew word for pastures comes from the root word nava, which means a beautiful dwelling place for repose. It is a vision of rest and calm, a scene where flocks lie down on tender, luxuriant deshe or new grass. It is an image of flocks that are completely supplied. They are surrounded by abundance. They are fully fed, restful, and content.

In the Torah, entering the Land of Promise was an expression for rest. When the Israelites thought about the Promised Land, they anticipated a future rest. Unfortunately, the Israelites who complained against God in the wilderness were punished with a lack of rest. Psalm 95:10-11 says, “Forty long years I was grieved with that generation and said, ‘It is a people that errs in their heart. They have not known my ways. Therefore I swore in my wrath, ‘They won’t enter into my rest.’ ” Hebrews 4:11 adds “Therefore, let us do our best to enter that rest so that no one will fall short because of the same kind of disobedience.” The consequences of disobedience are a lack of rest.

Psalm 95 gives an effective strategy for discovering rest. The psalm uses our illustration of sheep in a pasture from Psalm 23. “For he is our God and we are the people in his pasture, the sheep in his care. If only today you would listen to his voice: Don’t harden your hearts…” (Psalm 95:7-8)

Sheep listen and find rest. Rest is a reward for listening and obeying. “Listen and obey” are two words in English, but only one in Hebrew. They are the Hebrew word shema. Shema is to listen and shema is to obey. When we shema, we become the sheep in God’s pasture. When we shema, we are the flock which finds rest. If we desire rest during the hottest, most sultry days of summer, let us shema. God promises rest to believers in every age who shema. Shema is a call to listen, obey, and enter God’s restisobedience.” The consequences of disobedience are a lack of rest.

 

Psalm 95 gives an effective strategy for discovering rest. The psalm uses our illustration of sheep in a pasture from Psalm 23. “For he is our God and we are the people in his pasture, the sheep in his care. If only today you would listen to his voice: Don’t harden your hearts…” (Psalm 95:7-8)

Sheep listen and find rest. Rest is a reward for listening and obeying. “Listen and obey” are two words in English, but only one in Hebrew. They are the Hebrew word shema. Shema is to listen and shema is to obey. When we shema, we become the sheep in God’s pasture. When we shema, we are the flock which finds rest. If we desire rest during the hottest, most sultry days of summer, let us shema. God promises rest to believers in every age who shema. Shema is a call to listen, obey, and enter God’s rest

Leave a comment