You can tell how important something is to God by how often it’s talked about in the Bible. Familiar themes that reoccur in the Bible include love, grace, mercy, justice, kindness, the power of God, sin in humanity, and salvation. One of the less common themes that appears a lot in the Bible is rest. In fact, one of the Ten Commandments is to rest (Ex. 20:8–10). Some other verses about rest include:
- “And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when He rested from all His work of creation” (Gen. 2:3)
- “And He said, ‘My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest” (Ex. 33:14).
- “He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in paths of righteousness for His nam’s sake” (Ps. 23:2–3).
- “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him” (Ps. 37:7).
- “Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).
- “So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest” (Heb. 4:1–11).
Rest, then, must be important to God! The questions is, why?
One of the many answers that we can offer is that rest, as the absence of striving, is evidence of true faith in God’s sovereignty. In other words, we can rest because we believe the reality that God is so big and in control of everything that ultimately there is nothing to worry about.
Much of the stories and lessons in the Bible speak directly to the truth of God’s power and love that is the foundation for our rest. Through miracles, deliverance and teaching God demonstrates to the world who he is and what he’s capable of. He proves himself to capable of so much more than the likes of you and me. Where we cannot, God can.
This is the ultimate lesson of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Are you striving or anxious about whether or not you’ll be accepted? Look at the sacrificial love of Jesus. Just rest. Are you fearful of the day when you and your loved ones may breath your last breath? Look to the one who is the creator of life. Look to the one who says, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:3). Look to the one who says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in be, through he die, yet shall live” (John 11:25).
Are you anxious about the political climate of the world and global economic crisis? Jesus says, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
Are you fearful of terrorist attacks? “Do not fret because of those who are evil…for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the Lord and o good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture” (Psalm 37:1–3).
No matter what circumstances life my throw at us, none of it is bigger than God. Because of this, we can rest.
We rest in the fact that through the resurrection, Jesus has already won the victory. Even though the church is still called to strive today to aggressively advance the Kingdom of God in the world (Matt. 28:19), we do so knowing that the outcome of our striving is already determined. By some mystery, the victory is now, but also not yet. We pause on Sundays to commemorate the fact that the battle is already won through the resurrection of Jesus.
This is to be our point of reference for our daily living.
Rest, for God is big.