The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Rest in Him

“Then the land rested from war” - Joshua 11:23

Are you exhausted? Do you feel like a loser in the race of life? Do you feel bitten in the dog-eat-dog rat race of the world? Are you a worldly war casualty? Are you striving for more and more always seems just beyond your grasp? Do you feel beaten down by the circumstances of life? Do you feel like the weight of the world is bowing out your legs and they're at a breaking point? Do the storms of life have you shaken and rattled? Do you fear the storm? Jesus is able to calm the storm and give you rest. He says, “Peace be still!” (Mark 4:39). “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9). There is rest for your soul.

First off, the New Testament “rest” is a rest in the completed work of Jesus Christ. On the cross He cried “It is finished!” (John 19:30; Hebrews 10:12). Our righteousness, legal justification, and forgiveness for sin is complete in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 5:1f.; Eph. 1:7; Acts 26:18). By faith we rest in His work for our redemption. “Every spiritual blessing” comes in Christ (Eph. 1:3). Our victory is secure in Christ (Romans 1 Cor. 15:57; 1 John 5:4). We rest in the fact that our salvation and eternal life is secure in Him. We need not fear eternity.

But the reality of life is that while our victory is secure in Christ there are still battles to be won in this life. Our final resurrection glorification victory is still a ways off. So what is the “rest” God speaks of that we can enter into now? The conquest of the Promised Land by Joshua exemplifies aspects of the rest of the Lord. It states, “So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had said to Moses; and Joshua gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Then the land rested from war” (11:23; cf. also 14:15). Similarly, Jesus gained the victory of redemption for sin on the cross; He bore our sins on the cross. Then He sat down at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19; Heb. 1:3; 10:12; 12:2). That is our reality in Christ. But there is also a very practical rest in Christ. It is possible to rest in Jesus even in the storms of life.

The Promised Land is typical of the conquest of our own heart. God calls us to take our heart for Him; to defeat enemy rulers in our heart that challenge His lordship. He promises victory in this endeavor. He states, “As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:3-4). Upheaval comes when we try to do this on our own apart from the Spirit. Then we struggle and strive and live a wretched way (Rom. 7:24). There is rest from that; rest in the Lord.

What is this rest of the Lord? Alan Redpath explains:

What kind of rest is it? It is certainly not the rest of exhaustion. . . . His is surely a rest of satisfaction. . . . The rest of the Savior is the rest of calm, the rest of poise, the rest of assurance, the rest of satisfaction, the rest from work that has been completed; all that need be done for the salvation of every soul has been accomplished, and therefore He has sat down. . . .

What is the effect of that rest in the Christian life today? . . . The work of God can never be done efectively until we learn to rest in His strength that He may mold us, until we learn to let the fever, the rush, the worry, and the excitement subside into the rest of Jesus. . . . It is the purpose of God in Jesus Christ to lift us every day of our lives above the grime and fog and conflict of daily living into the clear blue sky of the love of heaven and of the rest of Jesus. . . . .

The restful Christian is he who lives his life above the storm with Jesus. Oh, he is sensitive to sorrow and to the troubles of other people, but he is able always to discern the wisdom of God. He is willing to trust the loving heart of God and therefore is able in the conflict to await the unfolding of God’s plan. He is able to keep silent while he waits on the Word of God. . . . resting in Jesus. He is also the busiest man of all, going at such a speed you wonder that he doesn’t’ break down. The only answer he can give you is that as he has waited on the Lord he has exchanged his puny strength for the almighty energy of the Holy Spirit. The resting Christian – are you like that? I didn’t say the lazy Christian, I said the resting Christian: busy, keen, always at the work of the Master, while deep in his heart is peace that no storm, however unexpected, and no sorrow however miserable and hard to bear, can ever disturb. . . . [It is a] rest of assured forgiveness. . . . He has heard the cry, ‘It is finished!’ He listens to the Word of God – ‘Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?’ (Rom. 8:33). [It is also] the rest of victory. . . . The child of God begins to see that Christ has done everything and to understand that Satan is a conquered foe, he finds rest and victory. He begins to realize that the devil cannot touch the life of the child of God who is resting in Jesus, for his life is hid with Christ in God. . .  

There is nothing – no circumstance, no trouble, no testing – that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has gone past God and past Christ, right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a great purpose, which I may not understand at the moment; but as I refuse to become panicky, as I lift my eyes up to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart, no sorrow will ever disturb me, no trial will ever disarm me, no circumstance will cause me to fret, for I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is. That is the rest of victory. . . . The Christian who is resting in the Lord is calm in every situation. . . . because the power of God is there in place of his own puny strength. . . . because he has surrendered his will to the will of God. [1]

Do you have that rest? It comes when we by faith rest in full surrender of our will and circumstance to the Lord. We do our best, but trust Him with the rest. “For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His” (Hebrews 4:8-10). Stop striving. Stop fighting against the lot in life God has ordained for you. Serve Him where you are. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). God knows what He’s doing. Trust Him. Rest in Him.

If God wants to move you to different territory, He is able to move you. If He chooses to do so, cooperate with His will. If He keeps you where you are, cooperate with His will. Rest in the Lord. He has your back. He knows what He’s doing. Listen to the LORD, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” He’s got the hairs on your head numbered (Mat. 10:30). He thinks about you all the time (Psalm 139:17-18). He won’t forget your loving efforts on His behalf (Heb. 6:10). Just seek Him wherever you are and whatever storm you are in; He will be found by you. “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:12-13). Stop fighting God. End this war. Rest in Him.

[1] Alan Redpath, Victorious Christian Living, (Calvary Chapel Pub. Santa Ana, CA 2007)  pgs. 144, 145, 146, 147

1 comment:

  1. Pastor Claude, so good to stop by your blog "Shepherd of Hope" and the post on it of dated 2nd August "Rest in Him" is a blessing. I am really so glad to know you trough your profile on the blogger. Glad to know that you served the Church of the Nazarene in the capacity of Pastor and now you still continue to Pastor "Calvary Chapel of Hope". Well I have been in the Pastoral ministry of the Church of the Nazarene for last 34 yrs and have been District Superintendent for last 23yrs.,in the great city of Mumbai, India a city with great contrast where richest of rich and the poorest of poor live. We reach out to the poorest of poor with the love of Christ to bring healing to the broken hearted and give them hope, future and purpose. We also encourage young people from the West to come on a short term missions trip to come and work with us. We would love to have some young people coming to Mumbai on a short term missions trip to work with us. My email id is: dhwankhede(at)gmail(dot)com and my name is Diwakar Wankhede