Thursday, May 22, 2014

Entering His Still and Quiet Peace


"And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever."  Isaiah 32:17

 Quietness of the heart comes from a trust in God that runs deep. A heart that can rest in His presence and just be with our Father. How many times are we asking God questions, talking to Him, peppering Him with our requests? We are as hyper toddlers to our Heavenly Father; sometimes He just longs to calm us and settle our spirits. As a mother or father holds a child lovingly; God holds us. He loves us and desires our hearts to be peaceful. A mother tries to settle an unruly child by holding him in her arms, how much more does our Heavenly Father want to do this for us? Maybe the heart is so used to being "hyper" that we need a lesson from God in how to have a still and quiet heart.

"Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself,
    like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk.
    Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me." Psalm 131:2

Concern for so many matters that are out of our control plague us. We worry and fret and it comes to no good end. Our hearts are burdened and worried with the unknown. The truth is it is out of our control. God holds these problems and worries in His hands, He is the Father who carries His children. He doesn't make us bent beneath our loads, though they may feel heavy at times.

"Tears of joy will stream down their faces, and I will lead them home with great care. They will walk beside quiet streams and on smooth paths where they will not stumble. For I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my oldest child." Jeremiah 31:9

Many search for a secret to rest and peace. God doesn't keep His ways a secret, He makes them known. Though we won't enter His full rest---salvation---until we reach heaven. Abiding in Jesus here on earth gives us rest, and Jesus abides in us. "Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him." John 14:23

Jesus makes His home within us, we abide with Him, walk with Him and drink from His streams of righteousness. At times this rest is not entered into because of our own sin, rebellion and anxieties. The Israelites were not allowed to enter the promised land because of their own rebellion. The promised land is a picture of heaven. If we seek our own way, we will wander and wander like the Israelites seeking the rest and peace of the Promised Land, never attaining it.Yet, it is there for those who turn their hearts towards God and follow His ways.

"For forty years I was grieved with that generation,
And said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts,
And they do not know My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.’” Psalm 95:10-11

The Lord tells us that when we "eat the bread of our anxieties" it is in vain. When we focus on our anxious thoughts we are wasting our time, we are not focusing on God's rest that has already been completed. Jesus work on the cross is complete for us; He has now entered His Father's rest. We can partake of that rest with Jesus, resting in His completed work on the cross.
"It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep." Psalm 127:2 

We rush to act. We want to "solve" the source of our anxieties. We run to human sources, thinking that our human strength and might can solve, will allow us to enter into rest yet again. Only God can save us; only He can provide the rest that our souls long for.

"So the Lord must wait for you to come to him
    so he can show you his love and compassion.
For the Lord is a faithful God.
    Blessed are those who wait for his help." Isaiah 30:18

Our rest is found in Christ's finished work on the cross. In God's salvation, in quiet and confident waiting on the Lord. God cannot break a promise, His throne is built on justice and righteousness. He promises rest for all who are willing to submit their hearts and abide with Him.

"This is what the Sovereign Lord,
    the Holy One of Israel, says:
“Only in returning to me
    and resting in me will you be saved.
In quietness and confidence is your strength.
    But you would have none of it." Isaiah 30:15

Prayer: "Lord, show me the path to your rest and peace. Examples in the culture are few and far between and your rest is not known to them. Show me your rest and peace and show me your plan. Remove the anxieties that are a sickness to my body and allow me to enter your healing rest. Keep my feet planted on the path of your salvation. Amen."

"That times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago." Acts 3:20-21

"Of Benjamin he said, “The beloved of the Lord dwells in safety. The High God surrounds him all day long, and dwells between his shoulders.” Deuteronomy 33:12


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