NEW SERIES: HOW TO FIND REST IN THE LORD
Because God’s final creation was Adam, it meant that when man came on the scene, everything was done. Finished. We can imagine the delight of Adam and Eve as they took in their surroundings. We can imagine the wonder and excitement as they explored their habitat; the exclamations of joy as they encountered one blessing after another. It was replete with provision for their every need.
It also means that as the last act of creation before the Lord rested, Adam and Eve’s first day was also a day of rest. They were to rest in, and enjoy and celebrate God’s finished work. They were to rest knowing that every provision had been made for them.
Moreover, there wasn’t one aspect of that provision that they deserved; nothing that they had earned. It was all grace—all unmerited favour, freely given by a good God.
Adam and Eve were given charge over the Garden of Eden to nurture and develop it. This was when work was about pursuing their destiny and calling, in partnership with the Lord. This was before labour had a price tag: the sweat of the brow, and unfruitful effort. This was when rest was about relaxing in provision rather than collapsing in exhaustion.
What robbed Adam and Eve of their enviable position of rest?
The fundamental temptation for them, brought by the Evil One, was to believe that God was not good, and that He was withholding good from them.
And this is still the root cause of unrest today.
So the first lesson in rest is that God is a good Father, who blesses us abundantly with good things. We can rest in that supply knowing there isn’t one thing we can do to deserve it.
KEEP CALM AND TRUST GOD
As already noted, when God finished creating the world He rested, and therefore Adam’s first day was a day of rest. Resting in the finished work of God is at the root of the idea of ‘sabbath’ which comes from the Hebrew word for ‘cease’.
We see this idea explored further in the stories about ancient Israel’s entry into the Promised Land. They had been slaves in Egypt for 400 years, and toil and hardship had characterised their lives. In Egypt the land had been irrigated by a sophisticated system of water pumps: prosperity for the Egyptians had been produced by the graft of slave labour.
After fleeing enslavement, the nation had to learn a new way of living, to put on the mentality of freemen, and receive from the Lord’s hand all they needed [Deuteronomy 8:3-5]. This process took 40 years because of their unwillingness to trust the Lord who had rescued them.
A graphic illustration of the trust required was that the new land would be watered from Heaven, rather than by hand-pumping. Their source of provision, their prosperity and supply, would be first from the hand of God, rather than their own efforts. They could work as hard as they liked, if God didn’t send the rain, the efforts were in vain.
The land you are entering to take over is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot as in a vegetable garden. But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. It is a land the LORD your God cares for; the eyes of the LORD your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.
This lesson was also enshrined in the law regarding Sabbath. This law stated they had to stop what they were doing every 7th day to rest. This was unheard of in the ancient world. People worked so they could survive, and only the rich could afford rest. So a weekly Sabbath was a statement of faith. Only people who trust in an outside provider will take time off. The heart of the idea of Sabbath was trust in a good God.
And the implications for us?
To find true rest, first we have to know that God is a good Father; then we need to trust Him to supply all of our needs out of His goodness. It is not the rest of inactivity or unending leisure, but it is the rest of sons and daughters—people who know they are no longer slaves.
TIRED OF TRYING SO HARD?
This post discusses how we please God, and what the work of God really is…
OVER TO YOU...
[Photo credits: Aaron Burden (daisy); Liane Metzler (hands); James Lee (birds); @ Unsplash, with thanks]
Da Kraplak (type writer);
Merakist (social media)
@ Unsplash, with thanks]
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