Rest a While


"Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while:
for there were many coming and going,and they had no leisure so much as to eat.”
Mark 6: 31

In a world of hustle and bustle, what an invitation this is: to come away for a while and enjoy a rest from it all.

What's your idea of a rest?

Is it a holiday in the sun or up in the mountains somewhere? Is it a long weekend away from the kids? Or is it simply a long hot soak in the bath? Some of us work long and hard for that fortnight away from it all but by the time the holiday arrives we're spent and almost too tired to enjoy it!

There must be a way of unwinding daily so as to be able to live, instead of exist our way through each day. Why do we end up getting so stressed anyway? It is because we are filling our time with too much stuff, and our minds filled with an overflow of cares? I know I do if I'm not careful; it's very easy to do isn't it?

If we find ourselves in that situation and are that busy it will not be a surprise to find that we have no time or very little time for God. This is just the time we are in our greatest need to come aside from everything and make time to be alone with Him. If we wait until we find time we will never find it and perhaps won't even have the desire to do so in the first place.

The Lord Jesus is not asking us to deny or leave our commitments but He is inviting you to come away from it all and rest for a while in His presence. The Lord Jesus being the great and good Shepherd has the good of His sheep in mind, and He who gave His life for the sheep will surely take care of those precious ones for whom He suffered, bled and died. Those of us who are His own can surely say that: “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” Psalm 23: 2.

Sheep cannot always be on the move

There comes a time when sheep need to rest, and the shepherd allows them to - ‘lie down in green pastures'; a sweet resting place where the pastures are green and lush! He also goes before and leads the way beside a place where the waters are still. There is nothing to disturb the glassy surface that reflects the beauty of the heavens. Of course the wind will blow at some time or other, but when the sheep are at rest the waters are calm. Just long enough to rest a while, and then once refreshed and replenished they are for the next move.

I wonder if I might be so bold as to suggest that we are also ‘on the move'. The Bible tells us that: “this is not (our) rest: because it is polluted...” Micah 2: 10. “For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” Hebrews 13: 14. We are certainly on the move to a brighter place where one soon day we will be – with Him!

Perhaps our strength is quickly depleted when we are caught up with this world instead of preparing for our home in heaven. That is why our dear Lord Jesus called out with strength and authority to all who would and will care to listen:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:
and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11: 28-30

God desires a rest for His people

And He reaches out in our direction so we may know that we have not been left all alone. To echo the words of Naomi to Ruth, He whispers: “... shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee?” Ruth 3: 1. The rest that we so badly need is found in Him. This rest is more than a prized possession but it is part of Himself that we can enjoy to the full daily. He invites us to, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11: 29.

Much like one would do for a loved one whose presence we enjoy, we must make that much needed time to be alone with the lover of your soul and learn of Him. How can we ever get to know someone if we are not prepared to spent time with them? Time alone with the One who has promised rest for your soul will never be time wasted. It was said by a great man of God of yesteryear that “my life is far too busy to neglect being alone with God.” I think he felt that if he did neglect to rest a while, his life would all fall apart.

“He (Christ), blessed be His name, is the rest and hiding place of the believing soul.” C.H.M.

It would be good to remind ourselves at this point that the rest God desires for us He has obtained for us at a tremendous price to Himself. In the lovely Bible story of Ruth; the rest that Naomi sought for Ruth her daughter in Law was found in Boaz a great man of Moab, the land to which Naomi was returning after a long absence. She told Ruth how to be prepared to meet with Him and after following her wise counsel Ruth found Boaz “asleep at the end of a heap of corn” Ruth 3: 7.

After a day's work harvesting corn under the heat of the sun, Boaz refreshed himself and rested – His work was done! This is in some small way a picture of Jesus Christ. He came to do a work that nobody else could do, and accomplished this by dying as a substitute for sinners. Please note that His death was not something that happened to Him but it was a mighty accomplishment.

Because the work of Christ is done, He can rest, and rest well.

And it is His desire that you and I enter into that rest as also!


"And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre:
and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;
and he lift up his eyes and looked,
and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them,
he ran to meet them from the tent door,
and bowed himself toward the ground, and said,
My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight,
pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:
let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet,
and rest yourselves under the tree:
and I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts;
after that ye shall pass on ...
And they said, So do, as thou hast said."
Genesis 18: 1-5

This was an mighty privilege for Abraham; for if were to continue to read on we would find that Abraham was entertaining God Himself!

Imagine being in a position of ministering to the needs of the Lord Himself. If Boaz was found to be asleep at the end of a heap of corn, signifying to us that he rested alongside the evidence of a completed work, then now we see that Abraham is suggesting his visitors rest under the tree. When we take a walk by faith to the hill outside the city walls of Jerusalem' we see there, three crosses. Upon the centre one is a sinless man condemned to die.

There we see him suffer at the hands of sinful men, and then darkness covers that scene where we are no longer permitted to view. In that darkness that precious One was dying to make atonement for my sin and yours. In His own body on the ‘tree' He bore the full blast of the wrath of a righteous God against the awfulness of the sin that separated us from Him. A mighty work was accomplished there at that time on that day and now as a result God can completely rest. As the cry of victory: “It is finished!” arose from the lips of our Lord prior to dismissing His spirit, He was declaring for eternity that the work is done!

“Jesus saith unto them:
My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.”
John 4: 34.

While our Lord walked this scene of time He found a place of welcome and rest in the little town of Bethany in the house and home of Lazarus, Martha and Mary. The Lord said that He had no place where to lay His head but He was rested and refreshed at the home of these three dear souls. What was it about this home that was a resting place for Him? He did not have time for those who were given to duplicity. He would never stay in the home of those who prided themselves in their religious beliefs and standings. That little home in Bethany was just a humble home I expect its occupants were the same. We do know that each of them loved their special guest and He very much loved them.

Wouldn't we love to create a special home like that for our Precious Lord and Saviour? Is this possible? Yes, O, yes, it is.

Words cannot adequately express how great is the honour of providing a home like Bethany for our Lord today!

And where is this place? You may well ask. Why, it is right here within our own souls. Listen to the words of our Precious Lord Jesus:

“If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him,
and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
John 14: 23

Do you see how important it is to make and take that time to be alone with Him and allow him to speak to you? Listen to that ‘still small voice' speaking to you. Hide that precious Word of His deep in your heart, and you will find that not only His word abiding there but Himself also, resting there in perfect peace within a humble heart.

"For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity,
whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place,
with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit,
to revive the spirit of the humble,
and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”
Isaiah 57: 15