“Return unto your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has bountifully with you!”
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Psalm 116:7 contains two verbs: one in the imperative mood, and one in the present perfect tense. David is commanding his soul to return to the rest that the Lord HAS PROVIDED for it through what He has done. Here it is, in the Jewish Torah, the Finished Work! In II Chronicles 14:2 we see that when Asa was king of Judah “the land was at rest for ten years” (Ampl) because “Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God.” But just what IS “good and right in the eyes of the Lord”?
It’s not about doing but about trusting in what HE has already done.
Micah 6:8 helps us to understand this and also why we, like David, can talk so assertively to our sou: “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy and kindness, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?” But what do these mean for us today, on the other side of Calvary? (1) “To do justly” is to recognize and count on that His Justice has been satisfied once and for all through the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross; and furthermore that the Blood of Christ has completely removed our sins from us, out of the sight of God, blotting them out completely, never to be found or mentioned by the Trinity! So, it is clear that our part in this matter is to believe, to trust in the Lord’s part, which was to pay for, blot out, remove forever out of the sight of God, all of our sins. (2) Next, we are “to love mercy and kindness” … how can we not?! Mercy rejoices against judgment (James 2:13), it follows us all the days of our lives, throughout the length of each day, and the Lord delights in those who hope in it! (Psalm 147:11) (3) Finally, He asks us “to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God”. I Peter 5:6 likewise says: “Therefore, humble yourselves … under the mighty Hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you,”. But how do we humble ourselves? Verse 7 of I Peter 5 explains: “Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” (Amp) When we do this, by Grace through faith, it brings rest, because Another is taking charge of our troubles and cares!
Sometimes we can try to finish what He has already accomplished.
In Isaiah 30:15 the Lord says to Israel, “In returning [to Me] you shall be saved [delivered]; in quietness and in [trusting] confidence shall be your strength. But you would not.” In other words, Israel, you tried to finish what I already did, in your own strength. You trusted in your ability, your own thoughts and understanding, instead of leaning on Me trusting in Me with all your heart. If there’s nothing more that can be done for you than what I’ve already done (Isaiah 5:4), then there’s but one thing for you to do: only believe.
Come unto Him, and He will cause you to rest in your work.
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We see the New Testament “mate” of Isaiah 30:15 in Matthew 11:28-30, so tenderly spoken by the Shepherd of our souls: “Come unto Me, all of you who labor and are heavy laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest [I will ease, relieve, and refresh your souls]. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle, and humble in heart, and you will find rest [relief, ease, and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet] for your souls.” (Amp) The word rest here is “anapausis” in the Greek and connotes giving up your own self-effort, your own way of doing things, your own understanding. It is the same word used for “Sabbath-rest” in the Septuagint, which actually makes it clear that this doesn’t mean that the rest the Lord Jesus Christ is offering is a cessation from work but rather that it is a rest in work. This is possible when we are totally satisfied with the work of the Cross, as God is. Then we are free to truly grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ….. free to build as Asa did in II Chronicles 14:6, because the land had rest. ” … he who has once entered God’s rest [Sabbath-rest] also has ceased from the weariness and pain of human labors, just as God rested from those labors peculiarly His own.” (Hebrews 4:10, Ampl) Thus, we can rest now. He has gone before us and prepared a way for us to walk in, Himself directing our steps (Jer.10:23). Calling us to Himself, He faithfully fulfills His call on our lives by keeping us (I Thess.5:24), working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. (Phil.2:13)
There is but one yoke: HIS
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Often when we hear the word yoke we think of two oxen yoked up together with two separate “halters” and one bar holding those “collars” together. But this is not what the Lord Jesus is talking about in Matthew 11:29 and 30. His yoke is the Finished Work and is the only yoke that should be around our necks – i.e., our wills. We “are hid with Christ in God” (Col.3:3), walking in Him and not beside Him. And because He is in us and we in Him and He in the Father (John 14:20), there is only one yoke in the picture: His, the work He finished on the Cross! So we rest in Him and get to know what He has done, what He says about us, what He is like: “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest … for your souls.” (v.29) Then in reading verse 30 we are reminded of Micah 6:8 where we discovered that the Lord wants us to love Mercy: “My yoke is wholesome (useful, good – not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.”
We are promised rest every day of our lives.
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His yoke IS the Finished Work. We are joined to it in Him by faith, by our choice, and we simply walk – and work – by faith in what He has already accomplished on our behalf. Four times in the Word of God it is written “The just shall live by faith.”; and in II Cor.5:7 we are to walk by faith, yoked up with Him, and not by sight, feelings, or human reasoning. Let’s ask, and trust, the Holy Spirit to reveal to us that this is the reality He wants us to walk in on earth. Let’s stand upon and walk in His promises that
“As your day so shall your strength, your rest and security, be.” (Deuteronomy 33:25b)
“My Presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 3:14)