At the onset of this pandemic we all sheltered in place and experienced a break from our regular schedules. Work was different, routines changed. Can I say I really rested? I don’t think so.
Now that it’s been a while, I still feel a sense of unrest – the need for a break, from this break. Although I don’t feel as though I’ve accomplished a lot with the free time I’ve had, I also can’t say I’m completely rested.
Isaiah has such wonderful words of promise and comfort for us. He promised a Savior!! And Christ did come! His promise was true, so we know we can trust the promises of Isaiah.
In Chapter 61, Isaiah gives us many pictures of the promised Kingdom. His examples related to the people who were farmers, vine growers and herdsmen. They were concerned with the fertility of their land, livestock and women. They feared disease, drought, barrenness, hunger and invasion. They suffered – really suffered – from poor leadership.
So, Isaiah described the blessings of God’s Kingdom in terms of food, water, health, abundance, political stability, peace and justice.
Our terms today might be wealth and power, an end to all wars, equitable distribution of resources and food to all countries, and a healthy environment. Maybe low interest rates, free cable tv and unlimited access to theme parks!
But behind all the pictures of the Kingdom is the promise of a time and a place of rest; a perpetual Shabbat. Where our deepest needs will be met, both those we feel strongly and those we cannot name. Where we will have freedom from all that worries or perplexes us; mentally and emotionally as well as freedom from all enemies physical or spiritual that keep us in a state of agitation here on earth.
I believe we can take the examples he gave and glean four basic needs. They can be defined by the words beginning with the letters R – E – S – T. And they are: Relaxation, Enjoyment, Security and Triumph.
R – Relaxation: a time or state when work is done, over. There will be an end to toil and labor that was the result of original sin when Adam and Eve, the serpent and even the ground were cursed. No more rushing or multitasking or feeling pressure to perform.
E – Enjoyment: of God’s unlimited and unconditional love and abundant blessing, which will be given in exchange for our sorrow. God will provide joy and happiness, giving us beauty for ashes, the oil of gladness and a garment of praise. There will be joy and blessing just being in His presence.
S – Security: safety physically, emotionally, spiritually, will be provided through Jesus Christ. No fear of unexpected tragedy or harm. Our place with Him is secured by faith. We will be at peace – without stress or anxiety, and will have spiritual security, living in the presence of the supreme God of the universe!
T – Triumph! God’s perfect justice will prevail. We will share in His provision of victory over all sin; over all the failings and injustices of man; and over any and all spiritual powers on earth, beneath the earth, or in the heavens. God’s victory will be absolute!
This rest is what He offers all believers for eternity. But He also created the Sabbath day each week for us to have a taste of the same rest.
Are you resting? One day a week? Or has it been a while?
Are you discovering the Relaxation, the Enjoyment, the Security and the Triumph He has set aside for you to experience here on earth?
What work or busyness can you set aside for a day? What can you do to relax?
To enjoy God’s blessing and presence you have to spend time in His presence and ask Him to show you blessings in your life. Thank Him for those blessings you do have. How will you spend time with the Lord? Get alone? Read His Word? Pray? Sit quietly? Take a walk? Watch a sunset?
Instead of focusing on fearing the unknown and worrying, set aside time to thank God for the good in your life. And praising Him for all He’s already given you.
Set aside a day this week and ask God to show you what that might look like in your life.
So on the seventh day He rested from all His work. Genesis 2:2
Remember the Sabbath by keeping it holy. Exodus 20:8
The Sabbath was made for man. Mark 2:27