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What is true rest?

In this fast-paced world of ours, it’s no wonder that we all yearn for a little peace and quiet. 

In the last few months there have been quite a few changes in my life, and this has often left me feeling tired and stressed, and it is then that I strongly desire rest.

When we think of rest, it is often associated it with simply not doing any work or getting away from our daily routines.

But what does it truly mean to be at rest?

From the Hebrew perspective, true rest is achieved when we are settled in the land, free from the threat of enemies and homelessness. This is a beautiful way to define rest, don’t you think?

Interestingly, the Bible connects rest with the possession of land and being settled in it. It’s fascinating to note that one of the major social issues of our time is homelessness, which is no longer limited to just the marginalized but is a real threat to the middle class as well.

Even though rest is something that we all strive for, it’s not something that’s commonly found in modern society. This is definitely something worth pondering.

For many, our modern obsession with taking holidays, and travelling to far flung corners of the globe, stems from the desire to find rest outside of our daily lives.

However true rest is not found by escaping our daily routine. True rest can be found within it.

If the Bible connects the possession of land with being at rest, then it stands to reason that we should examine how the Bible instructs us to act in order to secure possession of the land.

We find the answer to this in Deuteronomy 30:16-20, where Moses instructs the Israelites to choose life by obeying God’s commands, loving and following Him with all their heart and soul. He promises them that if they do so, they will live and possess the land that God has promised them.

Also, the prophet Isaiah tells us that the wicked cannot find rest because they are in rebellion against God. True rest can therefore only be found when we enter into communion with Him.

So what does this look like, and how can we achieve this state of rest?

The Word of God provides us with the blueprint to follow in the Ten Commandments.

Firstly, we must recognize that being in a state of restlessness means that we are separated from God. This is where the First Commandment comes into play, where God reveals Himself to us as our God.

Our response to His call is the operation of the Second Commandment. We declare that He is our God, and we will serve no other.

Our journey is described by the Third Commandment. When we place our faith and trust in God, we demonstrate that we honor His name and do not take it in vain. We demonstrate trust in His promises and His faithfulness.

Our allegiance shifts – we let go of the gods of this world, the socio-economic and political order in which we trust, and align ourselves with our King Jesus and His Kingdom. We enter into a new path – the King’s highway where we are under His royal protection.

By doing so, we enter into His Kingdom, our Promised Land. Here we will find true Sabbath rest, the fulfillment of the fourth commandment, and from which the blessings of the Kingdom flow as defined by the final six.

This is how we can achieve lasting rest – not by seeking to escape from our daily routines, but by aligning our lives with God’s Word and entering into communion with Him.