For all you Sound of Music fans out there; Let’s start from the very beginning, its a very good place to start. Genesis is the very first book of the Bible and spells out the creation story, and in Genesis 2:2-3 God himself demonstrates the concept of stillness or rest. Even God was stilled, he rested and saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”
God leads by example. He isn’t asking us to do anything that He isn’t willing to do himself. Here is something else; God wasn’t tired. He didn’t require a day to “take a load off” so to speak, not even after creating the Earth and everything in it. God introduces a concept of Menuha (Hebrew word for rest). On the Sabbath day, He provided a portrait of fulfillment, completeness and blessing that would be the framework for Sabbath rest in generations to come. He actually commands his people later through Moses to keep the Sabbath day holy. His chosen people, the Israelites had to be reminded officially. We modern day Christ-followers are no different. God desires for us be still, connect with Him and experience rest.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give
you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
Do you need rest for your soul? Most of us are familiar with the Hebrew word for peace. Shalom is more than peace, it is also used to ask for silence or calm. Additionally, Shalom is used as a warm greeting or farewell. Besides no war zones between countries, peace is defined as the freedom from oppressive thoughts. Being still with God ushers in peace. I love Shalom being used as a greeting or farewell; like the bookends to our day, many believers have morning and nightly prayers. Without bookends of prayer, we are unable to remain upright and at peace for long.
Throughout history humans continually search for peace. Most all say with their mouths they want peace, but it is elusive. Can any of us go a full 24 hour day in keeping a peaceful heart and mind? Jesus’ words are recorded in John 14:27
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Throughout the Bible, God’s word reminds us to “Remember Him.” Sounds simple enough, but to truly Remember Him is more than just at the time we take communion i.e. the Lord’s Supper. To Remember Him, we must try to give him our burdens, and seek His help and guidance. In Remembering Him, we place ourselves in submissive humility to the God of the Universe. When we take time to be still before Him, we allow Him to mold us and shape us. We must give Him time to speak to us. We must be willing to be comfortable with silence, and fine tune our ears to listen. We can not understand fully, or experience the fullness of what God has waiting for His beloved children this side of heaven. However, He does not want to see us struggling and white knuckling life without Him. He cares for us, and the work of Jesus allows us to approach Him today. The curtain was torn from top to bottom. He is waiting for you to come near to Him and receive his peace and rest.
Read Psalm 46:10
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
We are called to be still. Why? Not just because God Himself did so on the seventh day. Not just because He will help ease our burdens and give us rest. Not just because we can experience peace even when we are troubled. But because we need to know more of who God is, and He wants to reveal himself and His plan to His beloved followers. When is that last time you were still before the Lord? Anyone remember back in the 90’s the whole WWJD movement? Let your mind meditate of these last two facts:
- Jesus (God’s only begotten son) knows God best.
- The one who knew Him best, prayed the most.
Shalom my friends, I pray that you will carve out time to be still before your Heavenly Father today.