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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Rest in the Lord

What's the difference between "resting in the LORD" and growing stagnant? How do we "be still" without becoming idle?

I must have copied this from a blog or a post somewhere. My apologies to the original poser of these questions. I’m sure I thought I would get to it right away and remember where I had found it. That didn’t happen and I have no documentation for where I got it. If it was you let me know.

It caught my eye because my One Word for 2012 is rest. 
Rest in the Lord. Be still and know that I am God. They all fit together. 
Just how? What does it look like?

In our culture I think rest means couch potato. It means lazy. We rest. We do nothing. Rest equals relaxation. Maybe that’s why we fear resting will lead to stagnation. Yet God commands us to rest in him. What did he mean?

Psalms 37:7  Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

The word translated “rest” in Psalms 37:7 comes from two words. One word meaning, to be astonished. Another word that means, to stop. This word for rest means to be so astonished you be quiet. I love this!
Look later in the verse. “Fret not thyself” What do people do when they worry? They talk about it! Be quiet! Remember who God is. If we allow ourselves to focus on God we will indeed be astonished.  He is capable, faithful, loving, sovereign. He can and will handle it. Be still in your tongue and your thoughts.

Isaiah 30:15  For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.

The word for rest in this verse means to be set on. Returning our focus to him, being set upon his promises is rest. The word for saved means to be safe but it also includes the idea of being free. Where is the strength to rest? in quietness and confidence. Sounds like Psalms 37:7. The word for quietness means: rest, settle, be still.

Jeremiah 6:16  Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

The word for rest in Jeremiah 6:16 means resting place.  Abide, remain, and stay are all words in the meaning of the word stand in this verse. The resting place, the place to stand is in God’s ways.

None of these verses are reffering to physical rest, doing nothing. They all refer to where your thoughts are resting. If they rest in the Lord you will be safe and have confidence in him. Israel would not. The verses following in Isaiah and Jeremiah tell us Israel SAID they would not. 
Maybe another reason to be quiet before we are sure we are resting in the Lord? 
Rather than wait paitiently as instructed they talked and made their own plans. Since they went against the plans of God, they failed and brought judgement rather than rest.

How often do we decide to fix something instead of resting in the Lord? Do we get any rest from the results of our efforts?

One more verse:

Zephaniah 3:17  The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

He – the Almighty God  - will rest in his love for you. 
The meaning for the word used for rest includes: tengrave, be silent, be still. He is not trying to love us. He has decided - engraved it (in his hand actually) and it will not change. This overwhelms me. He is decided, set, abiding in his love for ME. for You. If we rest in his love we are imitating our Father just as Jesus did. Resting is being like God, thus pleasing to him.

This verse also shows rest is not motionless. He is resting in his love with joyous singing. Rest does not result in stagnation. Rather purposeful movement. There are things to be done. The first of which is rest

Have you discovered rest?
How do you rest?
Do you have questions about rest?
I'd love to hear from you. Please comment.

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