Discovering how to rest in God is a lot like learning how to slow down and enjoy summer. Summer is the season of rest, or it’s supposed to be. It’s the season of vacations and hammocks. But truthfully, summer was only restful when I was a little girl. The lazy hazy days of summer no longer exist unless I intentionally make them days of rest.
Life is like that; isn’t it? We must be intentional about everything important to us. Whether it’s making time for some rest this summer or spending time with the people important to us, we must make the time. Relationships are key, especially our relationship with the One who made us. So, when we intentionally spend time with God, it’s better than a hammock under a shade tree. When we spend time with God, we discover the three places where we need to rest in Him all year long.
3 Places of Needed Rest in God
- Weekly, physical rest
Remember to observe the Sabbath day be keeping it holy. . . (Genesis 2:3).
This rest demonstrates our trust in God’s wisdom, our obedience, and our humility. The world won’t stop revolving if we take a day off. This is a principal, no longer a specific command. Sabbath doesn’t have to be on Saturday or Sunday, but we need a day set aside to rest. This too must be intentional. It doesn’t mean you have to sleep. Watering my plants, reading, and staying away from my computer is resting for me.
2. Emotional rest
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Phil 4: 6,7).
I know, it’s easier said than done, but simply ask yourself how God can use what you’re worried about for good. If the very worst happens, how could God use it? When I ask myself that question, it gives me peace.
3. Salvation rest,
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2: 8-9).
Nothing we do earns our eternity. All that we do like reading our Bible, loving God and other people, worshiping and attending a Bible study or worship service all draw us closer to Him, but He paid the price for our sins. He redeemed us. God is not disappointed with you. He loves you. Rest in that love.
God Promised Moses Rest
Take a deep breath and read God’s promise to Moses in Exodus 33:14.
Did you need to read those words today?
They are great words, but they mean more than our translations reveal.
So much was going on in the context of this scripture (Exodus 33). Only a few verses before, God had told Moses and the Israelites that He would send a warrior angel to go before them to help them take the Promised Land. He would not be going because He didn’t want to be angered by their actions and kill them. He called them a “stiff-necked” people.
Unthankful. Fearful. Always wanting to go back to Egypt, people.
But when God said He wouldn’t be making the journey with then, they mourned and took off all their “ornaments” and humbled themselves. After that God told Moses He would go.
Read Exodus 33:14 again. What did He promise to give Moses?
But God Promised more than rest
The Hebrew word, Nuhal means “rest,” but it also means “settle.” The Israelites needed a home. They had been camping for a long time since their escape from Egypt, but they didn’t trust God. Read Numbers 13 and 14.
Only Joshua and Caleb believed God would help them take the land. The others spread fear and false rumors that caused the people to rebel (again), and not trust God or Moses. They stomped their feet and demanded to go back to Egypt. Because of their refusal to trust God, they wandered in the desert for forty years.
They didn’t believe or accept God’s rest. So, they didn’t get it.
Trusting to Find Rest in God
We look at their story and shake our heads. “Those silly Israelites!” we say, but there is so much to learn from this story. We are just like them, aren’t we? Everything in the Bible has been written for us to glean and apply.
- I must trust Him even when fear makes me want to run back to the safety of where I’ve been. If He’s led me there, He’ll make the way.
- Resting in His Word and trusting that He’s taking me to a good place is essential. Even when it looks scary or battles loom ahead, I must trust. God’s will is not always easy.
- If I don’t obey, trust, and go forward with His Presence, the calling, the dream, the Promised Land will take longer to get to.
“My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” does not mean we get to go take a nap. This verse promises that He will walk us to the next place where we can settle. Maybe that’s a literal place or a figurative place, a job, a season in life, a calling or a dream.
Resting in Him deepens our faith walk, and that makes our life more productive. We will get to where He is taking us.
Worry blinds us to His blessings.
Trying to do it on our own hinders us from receiving all He has for us.
Remember: Keep your neck loose, my friends!
Do not fear. Trust = Rest.
He’s leading us to good places.
Listen to this great teaching by Graham Cooke about Rest. (It’s about 9 minutes.) He talks about “rest” being a weapon. Pour some tea, take off your shoes, sit down, and close your eyes as he speaks.
God is with you.
Additional Scriptures on Rest in God
If you have some quiet time, spend your rest soaking in these scriptures to further learn how to rest in God.
Psalm 46:10: He says, “Be still, and know that I am God I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Exodus 33:14: The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Psalm 3:5: I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
Matthew 11: 28-30: “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.”
Psalm 91:1 “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Psalm 37:7 “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Psalm 62:1,2: Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.