Life can be so incredibly busy at times that we long for the time to just sit and do nothing. This seems like a good rest, doesn’t it? But we know all too well that when we do sit down, the inner turmoil we feel doesn’t always rest as our bodies do. But what if it could? Let me show you how with what I call an irresistible rest.
In our Gift of Rest Series, we have talked about our eternal rest, the invitation to rest from Jesus, and the insistence to rest just to be with God. But it is this irresistible rest that I want to spend a little more time describing in this post.
Our Source of Rest
When we think of rest as it’s mentioned in the Bible, we often think of the Israelites being promised rest when they made it to the Promised Land. This was a rest from the slavery and oppression they had faced while in Egypt, but also it would eventually be a promised rest from the threatening attacks of all their enemies.
Finding himself in that in-between place, Moses has a conversation with God. He basically begs God to show him His ways so that he might know Him more. Here is how God responds:
My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.
Exodus 33.14 ESV
God revealed to Moses the source of all the rest he would ever need – it was God Himself. His promise to Moses, and therefore to us, is that He will go with us and He will give us rest.
This rest is not simply referring to a physical state of relaxation. The rest God offers to give is one for the spirit and soul that allows us to relax internally, no matter what is going on around us.
His irresistible rest is one of feeling at peace. No chaos in the mind, no turmoil in the emotions, no anxiety to keep you up at night, no wondering “what if?” Just a calmness that declares everything is okay. And I will be okay.
The Meaning of This Rest
For several years, I was in a valley of grief, losing our youngest son, my parents, and my in-laws. Psalm 23 became a lifeline to me – praying it, meditating on it, and even imagining it.
During that time, when I would try to access that secret place ((You can read more about how to do that here), I saw Jesus leading me beside still waters and then making me lie down in green pastures.
But I didn’t want to lie down in a green pasture. Have you ever thought about it? Being in a wide open field is not exactly a place of safety. There is no hedge to surround you, no covering, no shelter to hide. It actually feels quite vulnerable.
How could this be a place to feel safe enough to rest?
Interestingly enough, I learned that the concept of salvation and wholeness in the Hebrew language is defined as being in a wide, open, and free space. Look with me at a favorite passage of mine:
In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.
Isaiah 30:15 ESV
I had interpreted this verse solely as a salvation passage – returning means to repent and this brings salvation. Yes, it does. But this verse means so much more!
Breaking it Down More!
You see, the word “saved” in Isaiah 30:15 means to be delivered, liberated, to be victorious. We can certainly understand this in terms of being delivered from the penalty of eternal punishment to have salvation.
But the Hebrew word for “saved” – “yasha” – has an additional meaning: to be open, wide, or free. To Be Safe.
So this verse is actually telling us: In turning back to God and resting, we can find ourselves in a wide open space, free to be ourselves. No restrictions, no limitations. And even there, we will be safe.
While I was studying to write this post, I went back and looked at Psalm 23. In the verse right after lying in green pastures, we are told He restores our soul. Would you believe – the root word for “restores” is the same root word from which we get our word “returning” in Isaiah 30?
What does it mean when He restores our soul? He turns us back. He refreshes us and repairs us and brings us back to Him. Why? Because He is our safe place where we can find our real rest. That irresistible rest!
Regardless of your past or what was done to you or done by you, your Father is offering to help you lie down in a green pasture because He is with you. And you can do this unafraid. He is your good Shepherd -watching over you, nurturing you, mending your wounds, and leading you in good and right paths just because that’s who He is.
You don’t have to fight or struggle to be good enough or right enough. You don’t have to prove yourself or earn your acceptance. You don’t even have to worry about protecting yourself. He’s got this! He’s got you!
How to Find This Irresistible Rest
You probably remember how the story goes with the Israelites. Most of those who came out of slavery in Egypt didn’t make it to the Promised Land. Spies from every tribe were sent to scope out the land, and they came back with a negative report, all but Joshua and Caleb.
The Israelites chose to believe the negative reports and complained that they should never have left Egypt. As a result, God told them they would never enter their rest in the Promised Land, only their children would.
The book of Hebrews brings it home to us.
So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
Hebrews 3: 19 ESV
They missed their Promised Land and all that beautiful, irresistible rest because they didn’t believe God. They listened to a negative report instead.
Dear one, I am asking ever so gently, will you believe what God says? Will you be so courageous and brave even to believe that what He says applies to you, too? And will you stop listening to the negative reports our enemy wants to give you?
Let me remind you of more truth in Hebrews.
For whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.
Hebrews 4: 10,11 ESV
Do you see this? To enter God’s rest, you must rest from your works. You can stop trying so hard to be right, do right, get it right and just rest in the beautiful work of Christ and the grace He so lavishly gives us. Jesus did it all! (You can read more about that wonderful grace here.)
You no longer have to strive and exert yourself to be acceptable. God says the only thing for which you must strive is to enter His rest. To believe what He says. To take Him at His word that He will go with you, He will keep you safe, and He will give you rest.
So how do you find this beautiful, irresistible rest? You know now it comes from God and His Presence being with you. It has nothing to do with works and everything to do with being safe in a wide, open space – free to be yourself. And you know that your good Shepherd will provide rest by restoring your soul and taking care of you like no one else can.
What is your part? Believe. Take God at His word and believe it for yourself. You are not an exception. His promises are for you as much as they are for me or anyone else.
Believe Him. And trust. You really can trust Him. Why? Because He loves you – oh so very much.
Choosing to believe and rest with you,
In the comments below, share with us a promise of God that you choose to believe today that will bring rest for your soul in some way. It will be good for us all to be reminded of His promises. Let’s encourage each other!!
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I’m excited to share this free printable with you to be a reminder of God’s irresistible rest. If you can, print it out in color. It’s so much prettier that way!