Part 3: that I may know God’s repose.
“For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His…”. (Hebrews 4:1-10)
To date we discussed Gods call for us to be still, cease striving, let go and let God be God. We do that through obedience that leads us into God’s rest, where we find Him waiting, ready, and able to empower our ability to obey. In His rest, we find rest – stillness.
In my study on this topic, God showed me something that took me deeper in understanding His rest and it’s provision for us. Before looking at that, let’s lay some groundwork, turning to where God’s rest is first revealed to us.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. … God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” — Genesis 1:1, 31, 2:1-3
Rest here has the same meaning. God stilled Himself, ceased all striving, and took time to enjoy the good of His labor.
One thing that has always struck me in the Genesis story is God’s enjoyment of the good. We see it at the end of each day, as He surveys the day’s accomplishments and sees it is good. He does that every day except day two. When He created the expanse to separate the waters, putting some below and some above the expanse, He did not note it’s goodness.
I asked God the first time I truly noticed that change of pattern why that was. The understanding He inspired in me is this: the God, who knows the beginning from the end, was brought to sadness in the moment of creating the separation between like-waters, because He knew the people He would create in His likeness would be separated from Him by the great chasm of sin sickness.
God does not like being separated from us and, in that moment of sadness, could not call it good. However, by the end of the sixth day, when all was finished and in play for His eternal purpose, surveying the work accomplished from beginning to end, He said to Himself, “It is ALL good.”
We enter His rest with Him best when we can trust God, who knows the beginning from the end, and we say with Him, “It is all good.” He has a purpose and a plan that He is working, and all we survey is playing into the completion of all things good and wonderful. The best we can do is our best to follow His will and do it. When we are sure we have done that, the expanse is bridged by obedience and we enter His rest assured of His faithfulness. In that place of rest, we are one with Him: which leads to the thing God showed me that I pray I can rightly and truly express to you. Read it with me.
“‘Heaven is My throne, and earth is the footstool of my feet; what kind of house will you build for Me?’ says the Lord, ‘Or what place is there for My REPOSE? Was it not My hand which made all these things?’” – Acts 7:49-50 NASB
I noticed this scripture because it was in the list of NT verses using the same word that is translated “rest”, listed in Part 2 of this series. God is saying that man cannot make for Him a place where He can cease striving, be still, and rest. Or, as Jesus put it, He has no pillow on which to lay His head and find His rest – His Repose: a putting to rest, causing to cease. (Matthew 8:20)
Here is the thing I understood as I considered all of this. We cannot make a place good enough, big enough, sufficient enough for God’s repose, BUT HE DID. He sent His Son, Jesus, to bridge the gap and fill the expanse that separates us from His likeness. And through Jesus, He gave us His Spirit to empower our obedience, so that we may be as He is, those created in His likeness. As we walk in His provision for us, we enter His Rest and He makes us to be His Temple – the place for His repose.
As we rest in Him, He finds the place for His grace to fulfill it’s purpose. His power is perfected as it finds in us the place His power is intended to work. His power is perfected in bringing strength that transforms our weakness. When we reach the place of abiding there with Him, we are made one with Him, in whom we rest, thus giving Him a resting place: a place for His repose.
“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; …” because He is my rest, my ability to cease striving and find stillness in the midst of the storms ravaging this world. (Psalms 23:1-6 NASB)
“Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST,” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS ”; and again in this passage, “THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.” Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS.” For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.” – Hebrews 4:1-10 NASB
The election that started me on this journey is done. I sought God and voted according to His will as He instructed me. My work in it is done. Now, I enter His rest with Him and wait to see what comes. He who knows the beginning from the end will not fail His purpose. It is finished. Repose.