Keep calm and REST

Life can never be a smooth sailing all the time. Sometimes you will face challenges and hear bad news. What will you do when you face a challenge which is huge and beyond your natural ability to tackle? What will you do when you hear a bad news? The next 5 minutes can help you facing such situations with a different perspective and can reveal truths about living a successful, quiet and peaceful life.

God gave the ten commandments to Israelites thousands of years back.

Exodus 20:8-11 says

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. ”

If you read the book of Hebrews, it throws a new light into the concept of Sabbath. 

Hebrews 4:9 says,

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works,e just as God did from his. 11Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.”

It talks about Sabbath rest. The final rest  you get from all your labor in this world. So the Sabbath is not just about physical rest but it has other dimensions as well. It is also applicable for spiritual rest.

The word sabbath comes from the root word in hebrew ‘Shin-Beit-Tav, meaning to cease, to end, or to rest.’

Jesus gave a new light to this word rest. He said, 

“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. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus didn’t say come to me on the 7th day and I will give you rest. Jesus didn’t say come to Church on Sunday and I will give you rest. But he simply said “come to me, all you who are weary and burdened.” It’s an open invitation. The whole of new testament talks about being ‘in Christ’. In other words,

1) God wants us to constantly live from the place of rest

This is one of the secrets of living a successful and peaceful life! It’s a change of lifestyle. God wants us to change our lifestyle. Instead of living from a constant place of worries, fears and doubts God wants us to move and live from the place of rest.

Often times we tirelessly run with our own strength and run out of fuel and then we somehow make it to Church on Sunday to recharge us. We get fully charged on Sunday and Monday is a great day and our faith level is on the top…. Tuesday it goes slightly low… Wednesday and Thursday further lower, Friday we are at rock bottom and we somehow manage Saturday and then we desperately make it to church on Sunday. I am not saying it’s wrong to go to church to get charged. It’s good to go to church to get charged but its great to remain fully charged all days of the week. We can remain fully charged only when we LIVE FROM THE PLACE OF REST.

God says your default position should be “resting in God”. Default position is not running with your own strength.

We need to shift from this old lifestyle of “tirelessly working with our own strength” to “resting in God at all times”!

We can see many examples in bible talking about this truth. Book of 2nd Chronicles has a great story. Jehoshaphat the king of Judah hears a news that his enemies Moab and Ammon are coming against Judah as a vast army. The whole nation of Judah was perplexed and they started praying. This is what Jehoshaphat prayed on hearing this news: “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” See how God replied to this prayer

Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”

Verse 15 says ‘You don’t have to fight…take up your positions.’

When you are faced with challenges take up your default position of resting in God!

Look at what Moses said to Israelities when they faced the red sea:

“Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

You need only to be still in other words take up your default position of resting in God!

When things go wrong and when you face big challenges don’t get perplexed, don’t jump into action, don’t make any knee jerk reactions but just take up your default position of rest.

2) Resting in God doesn’t mean “DO NOTHING”

If you look at what Jesus said in Mathew 11: “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.”

Note the words “Take my YOKE upon you…”. Have you seen a yoke? YOKE is something that keeps the oxen connected while ploughing the fields. If one of the ox is too slow or too fast it will make the yoke too heavy because it has to carry the full weight. But if both oxen walk at the same pace and in rhythm, the yoke will be very light and easy to carry. So when Jesus said ‘Take my yoke upon you … For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’ he basically said ‘Walk in step with me’.

Resting in God means walking in step with him. You shouldn’t go too fast and you shouldn’t go too slow. In other words ‘just do what God asks you to do in his timing.’

In Exodus 14:13 we read earlier Moses said to Israelites, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

God spoke in the next verse and said “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.”

Listen, Moses asked the people to be STILL. But God asked the people to MOVE ON! Was God contradicting Moses? No. Moses meant “don’t panic, just rest in God and do what he says in his own timing.’ This means you might be involved in a million things, you might have a busy schedule for the day, you have a million tasks to do in your mind but still you can REST in GOD and enjoy your day! You can enjoy the journey. All you have to do is just walk in step with God and just do what God says. You must be in constant communication with God.

Resting in God means NOT reacting but acting

You hear a doctor’s report or an accusation against you or someone slandering you or a court proceeding or a colleague’s attitude towards you and you immediately react.

But you don’t need to take a knee jerk reaction. You just have to stay calm and REST IN GOD. TAKE YOUR DEFAULT POSITION which is resting in God. Jesus is a perfect example. People formed groups against Jesus and they started slandering him. They accused him of having Evil Spirit but he never reacted. He never got frustrated. On one occasion he said, ”The Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” He was totally resting in the Father. He acted only according to his Father’s will. He never reactedOn the other hand you can see the pharisees always ‘reacting’. They reacted when Jesus exposed their motives.

When you hear someone doing bad against you just chill out and don’t react. Don’t stoop down from your level and be one of them. All you have to do is REST IN GOD and ACT when he says ACT.

Another great example is King David. It was shortly after David became the king of Judah. He was fleeing from his own son Absalom because Absalom won the favour of Israelites by talking nicely to them and planned a coup against David. The bible says, “…whenever anyone approached him(Absalom) to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him. Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the people of Israel.” So David decided to leave the throne and run from his own son. When he reached a certain place a man called Shimei brought severe allegations against him. He called David murderer and scoundrel and said “Get out, get out, you murderer, you scoundrel! The Lord has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The Lord has given the kingdom into the hands of your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a murderer!””

On hearing this, Abhishai, one of David’s commander said “Let me go over and cut off his head.”

Abhishai reacted!

Look how David replied “My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.”

Isn’t that amazing! That’s the mark of maturity. That’s called RESTING IN GOD. That’s called acting the way God wants us to act.

Resting in God means ‘knowing when to switch on and when to switch off’.

Its not just about acting and not reacting. But we also need to know when to act and when to stop. We need to know when to say certain things and when to be quiet.

Once David was running away from Saul. He was in a city called Keilah. David heard that philistines are attacking Keilah. So he asked God whether he should go and protect that City. God said ‘Go and fight…’ So he fought the philistines and saved that city called Keilah.

Few days later, Saul heard the news that David is in Keilah. So Saul sent people to capture David. David asked God ‘will the people of Keilah hand me over to Saul or protect me? ’ God said ‘They will hand you over to Saul… so run..’

Sometimes you need to fight for Keilah and sometimes you need to run from Keilah. You need to know when to switch off and when to switch on.

No wonder David was called MAN AFTER GODS OWN HEART. Because he was in step with God. He inquired God for everything and acted when God wants to act and fled the place when God wants him to flee.

3) Finally, RESTING IN GOD BRINGS BREAKTHROUGH

God acts when you REST IN HIM. Taking your default position of resting in God means engaging God in the battle. Taking your default position means you are allowing God to work.

When you REST IN GOD he starts WORKING! When you say I have done everything and I want you to take control of this situation he jumps in to action.

In all those stories we saw, God acted when they stood still or when they obeyed God’s instruction.

In the story we read above, when Moab and Ammon came to attack Judah, Jehoshapat prayed “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” and God answered “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you,.”

Look what happened in that story. 

“After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.” As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 23 The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.”

God asked them to take their positions. They started singing praises and verse 22 says “The Lord set ambushes against the Kings of Moab and Ammon and they killed each other”!

God acts when you rest in him!

When Moses and the Israelites obeyed God he parted the red sea.

When Paul and Silas were in prison, they started singing. When you rest in God you can’t resist singing and praising God. It’s the sign of you resting in God.

When I was a kid, my Sunday school teacher explained the story of Paul and Silas like this: “The bible says “Heaven is my throne and earth is my footstool” and so God kept his feet on the earth as a footstool. When he heard Paul and Silas singing God started tapping his feet as he liked that song. When God tapped his feet it caused an earth quake and they got freed!” 

If you rest in God you start a chain reaction that leads to earthquake. When you rest in God you are allowing the maker of heaven and earth to get involved in your problems. The result is your breakthrough! So keep calm and REST!

If you are encouraged by what you read today, would you share this article with a friend, co-worker, or family member?

2 Responses to Keep calm and REST

  1. Kathleen says:

    Thank you! Truly God acts when we rest in Him. Keep trusting God!

  2. I love that Jesus IS our Sabbath. In Him, we can fully rest from our labors of trying to keep the Law and earn right-standing before God. The juxtaposition of rest and a yoke is so beautiful. As you explained, a yoke is an instrument of work, but Jesus declares that the Work to attain righteousness has already been DONE by Him on the cross. Through His sacrifice for our salvation, He visibly demonstrated that He is indeed “Lord of the Sabbath!” Thank you for this great post!

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