A word that means more to me now than I ever anticipated.
At the beginning of 2018, God gave me this word to hold onto. He told me it would be a word that would define my year and my relationship with Him. He said He would teach me more about it.
I went through my year, as busy as ever. I had people who would come up to me, not knowing about this word, and tell me that the Lord was calling me into a season of rest. The Lord confirmed this word over and over. Every time He did, I would wait for this rest to come. I would expect to be less busy, less stressed. But month after month would pass by, and it never came.
It was September. I had just finished secondary school and was talking to a base elder about my next step. Just like many others, she said, “I think the Lord is saying you need a season of rest, and that the School of Biblical Studies will be the tool he uses to bring it.” I knew that it had to be the Lord, and so I signed up.
A week passed. Then three weeks, then six weeks. I was still tired and busy. Nothing had changed. In a cry of frustration, I prayed, “Lord, what is going on? Why do you keep talking to me about rest? This isn’t a season of rest. I am stressed, busy, and tired. The year is almost over and I haven’t learned anything about rest.”
I was learning a lot, but I felt drained.
I opened up my Bible to the book of Hebrews, and the verses leapt off the pages.
“For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.” Hebrews 3:16-19
The writer of Hebrews used the word “rest” to refer to the Promised Land.
I thought about the story of the Israelites, who time and time again struggled to keep their end of the covenant with God. They repeatedly gave sacrifices. Every time the high priest died, they had to appoint a new one. They wandered in the wilderness for forty years before inheriting the promised land- before entering the “rest”. They were afraid of the giants and they were disobedient.
The writer of Hebrews goes on to say,
“Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.”
God showed me that like Joshua led the Israelites into the Promised Land of Canaan, Jesus came to lead us into the promised land of inheritance. Jesus became the great High Priest, not to sacrifice animals like every other priest. He brought a perfect sacrifice, himself, to complete what only He could complete.
Therefore, the promise of entering the rest still stands.
God initiated a better covenant- one that is one sided. Even though we did not choose him, he chose us. His Word is saturated in grace and filled with the gospel to come.
The Israelites weren’t focused on the the promise of rest, they were focused on the giants in the land. Therefore, they were disobedient and didn’t enter. I heard God say, “You are doing this right now. You are focusing on the giants: your workload, stressful situations, finances, and everything in your way. But all you need to do is focus on my promise. Focus on my Word. Focus on the inheritance I paid for.”
I realized that rest isn’t the absence of work or the absence of busyness. It is found in trusting God to take care of the giants.
Rest is confidence in his Promise.
In a moment, the Lord shifted my entire perspective. I had been waiting for God to move the giants so I could enter rest, but God was waiting on me to enter the rest so He could get rid of the giants. Entering rest isn’t done once the giants are gone; it is done despite them.
For a year, I wrestled with the Lord over this word, but God was faithful to bring revelation.
So I want to pray for you today, no matter what giant you are facing, whether it be finances, a relationship, fear, doubt, or health. Take a moment right where you are and close your eyes. Ask the Lord what giants are hindering you from fully trusting Him. As He reveals them to you, I invite you to lay down those fears at the feet of Jesus.
Say, “Father, I repent from keeping my attention on this giant. Today I surrender that, and choose to trust you. I want to look to your promises and your truth.”
Then ask the Lord what He is saying to you. Ask Him what His promise is to you- the truth that you can hold to.
Jesus sacrificed himself so that you could abide in Him no matter what is going on around you. Stand confident in that today: you can be at peace in the middle of the storm. Your job in the battle is only to trust in Him who can do all things.