The God of rest
Updated: Dec 29, 2019
Written by Pastor Kevin of Reconciled Church
Today’s reading comes from Ruth chapter 3 verse 1:
"Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you?"
What in your life is making you restless? What situation feels unresolved to where you don’t feel as though you will be at ease until you have a definitive answer. For some, it is the job opportunity you are hoping pans out. For others, it is wondering who (if anyone) you will marry. Maybe you or a loved one is sick or hurting and you are wondering when relief will come. Whatever the situation, when issues go unresolved in our lives, we feel restless.
For those unfamiliar with the story of Ruth. It is the story of a widowed woman who clings to her widowed mother-in-law (Naomi) and stays close by her even though she has nothing to give her. By the time we find Ruth and Naomi in chapter 3, we find that God has provided for them by sending help in the form a relative of Naomi’s named Boaz, who gives them an opportunity to provide food at the end of a famine.
God has provided for Naomi, but yet there is still an unresolved story in that of Ruth’s widowhood. They have food, but what about the kind woman who has taken care of her mother-in-law by placing her needs above her own?
What I want you to notice is that the resolve Naomi seeks for Ruth she refers to as “rest.” Ruth in her mind lacks rest because she doesn’t have closure to this aspect of her life. This harkens all the way back to Genesis where we read that on the 7th day God rested. It is not that God retired and never did anything again (including holding the universe together which He continued to do on the 7th day), but God resting marks a resolution, a completion, to creation.
We all desire resolve, or as the Bible refers to it, Sabbath.
The author of Hebrews wrote “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 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…” (Heb. 4:9-11a) What then is this great rest (Sabbath) we are still awaiting? It is when the very presence of sin and death is removed from us and this world. Therefore, we live in an interesting state between the resolved and unresolved. On one hand, Christ has resolved the issue of that which should keep us most restless- our separation from God. On the other hand, until Christ returns, our lives are destined to have an unresolved quality to them at times.
So what do we do while we wait to enter God’s final Sabbath? We rest. We find our hope in the promises of God, in the certainty of the resurrection and in that we are able to rest. You don’t have to prove yourself to God. You don’t have to put on the facade that everything is alright when it isn’t. Instead, we trust in what God has done for us and though there may be anxieties and stress along the way, there is also peace and rest to be find here today as well.
Today, rest in the Gospel. No matter how daunting the situation that lies in front of you looks, the situation which Christ has already resolved for you is greater. Not only that, but if God has brought closure to the greater issue, then we have confidence that he can handle all the rest.
Today let this be your prayer:
Lord, thank you for providing rest for our weary souls. You are a God who rests, and you call us to rest in the work you have done for us. Though I have unresolved issues in my life right now, I know you have a plan and I trust you. Amen.