GOD’S OFFER OF REST
‘REST’ is a significant theological word in the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation, there is an emphasis on rest, the loss of rest, and rest given again by God. Rest is from God. Rest is tied to the Promised Land. Rest can also mean Heaven. The lack of rest is equated with the lack of God’s presence. Rest is a complicated word that has variations of meaning depending on the context. When we understand the theological roots of rest, we understand more about human life and the rest to which God calls all human beings.
Rest is a significant thought in Hebrews 3:7-4:13. This thick theological passage begs the believer in Jesus Christ to look back into the Old Testament through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to see the emphasis God the Father makes on ‘rest’ and how it relates to the People of God. The author of Hebrews says it related to the believers he was writing to and to the people who received the Old Testament. It applies to us now.
PSALMS: REST IN THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD
The Psalms present to us theological truths, but they are also very personal. People read the Psalms personally (which is beneficial), but we don’t want to miss the overall purpose of what God is doing. We get solid thinking about ‘rest’ by understanding how faithful God truly is at all times. The songs were written understanding all the times God was faithful in the past and projects for us how God will bring about the same now.
It is in the Psalms that we take note of a further aspect of ‘rest’ in the Bible that relates it to ideas of ‘peace.’ In rest, there is peace. Rest is not only the absence of work and activity but is also an absence of chaos and disorder. In the Psalms, we find words that look forward to the hope for rest that brings peace to our hearts. We also note that God is the source of all the rest and it is found in no other source.
In Psalm 22:2 (ESV), we see God and His rest directly tied to the desire for peace: “O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.” Only in God is there true rest and peace. This idea that God is the source of rest and peace is found throughout the Psalms, such as 62:7 (ESV): “On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.”
It is Psalm 95 that is directly quoted in Hebrews 3:7-4:13 directly tying the Old Testament and the New Testament together.
Psalm 116:7 (ESV) and Psalm 119:165 are other passages that in context (and in concert with other psalms) show us that God is the God of peace and rest and gives this as a reward to those who seek Him. God gives not only peace for the heart now, but also rest in the future with Him. He is the refuge. He is the restful inheritance.
QUESTIONS TO THINK ON
Why is it important to understand that ‘peace’ is theologically part of ‘rest?’
What is the source of peace and ultimately of rest as well?
Is it important that the Old Testament and the New Testament are tied together?