Rest in the Lord

Matthew 11--28

Revised and re-posted from a previous blog entry, the Verse of the Day for December 28, 2016 is found in Matthew 11: 28, but to better understand exactly what Jesus Christ is saying, we also need to examine verses 29 and 30 which close out the chapter.

Matthew 11:28-30 (AMP):

28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST (renewal, blessed quiet) FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.”

Jesus Christ invites his followers, all those who work and are heavy laden, to enter “a place of quiet rest . . . near to the heart of God.” The Lord draws to himself those who are burdened with care, that they might find rest to their souls. In thinking about a place of rest from one’s labor, we recall the original intent of the Sabbath, first spoken of Genesis 2:1-3:

So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. 2 On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.

This passage in Genesis connects the Sabbath and the “seventh day” and “rest,” all terms derived from the Hebrew word Shabbat. Described as the centerpiece of Jewish life, Shabbat (the Sabbath) is designated as a day of rest and celebration beginning on Friday at sunset and ending on the following evening after nightfall.

The concept of the Sabbath comes to mind while reflecting on the Verse of Day and the following verses in Matthew 11:28-30.This particular passage is the inspiration for the following original song in response to the invitation offered by the Lord:

I Will Rest in the Lord

I will rest in the Lord. I will rest in him.
No matter the challenge, I will put my trust in him.
My desire is not just to be a hearer
But also to be a doer of the Word.
May I so live my life to rest in the Lord.

Sometimes I carry a load that I’m not meant to bear.
I fall beneath the burden that could lead to despair.
Then I look unto Jesus, to lighten my load.
For he has said, “Come unto me. All ye that are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest, for my yoke is easy
and my burden is light.”

I will rest in the Lord. I will rest in him.
No matter the challenge, I will put my trust in him.
My desire is not just to be a hearer
But also to be a doer of the Word.
May I so live my life to rest in the Lord.

In bringing closure to this year while reflecting upon the triumphs and challenges of 2016, I recognize that countless times I have worked much more that I should have and rested far less than I could have. In looking forward to the New Year with fresh possibilities, I am determined more consistently “to rest in the Lord.”

Reggie and Ladye Love Smith offer a song of encouragement to round out our discussion of words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 11:28-30: “I will give you rest.”

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One Response to “Rest in the Lord”

  1. Ron O'Toole Says:

    Dr J,
    How timely this devotion is. Enjoyed your devotions while attending your classes at CCBS. May the Lord continue to bless you and your family in the coming year. Maranatha

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