And He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Exodus 33:14 ESV
In our early married life, Debbie and I made a cross country trip with our four young daughters. I recall looking forward to the many “rest stops” along the highways of America. They usually were not elaborate or fancy. Some were cleaner than others. Yet, each one provided a brief respite from the routine of traveling.
Benjamin Franklin wrote, “He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities.” Rest is release, renewal and refreshment.
Philosophical and historical teachers advocate the necessity for “taking a break”. Leonardo da Vinci said, “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer.” Ovid, a first century Roman poet wrote, “Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”
I remember the first time I watched “The Ten Commandments”? Charlton Heston portrayed Moses, the emancipator of Israel. The nation of Israel suffered under Egypt’s tyrannical and brutal enslavement. Under Moses’ leadership they escaped by the miraculous and mighty hand of Jehovah.
God was guiding. God was giving. God was gracious.
As Moses interacted with God, the Almighty would “speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” (Ex 33:11) This process took time. When the nation grew impatient and concerned over God’s intent, they allowed their hearts to fail and followed Aaron by making a golden calf to worship. Their disobedience was declared and their future was fearful. A Holy God was not pleased.
Moses, as a wise and willing leader petitioned and pleaded with God for His powerful, protecting and prevailing presence. God answered, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Ex 33:14) Real rest is only possible in His presence. The presence of God is powerful with Old Testament faith seekers and New Testament faith finders. He gives rest.
Rest From Worry. Paul reminds the 1st century Christ-followers of Philippi, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all He has done.” (Phil 4:6 NLT) His ever abiding, ever attentive and ever acknowledged presence allows us the privilege of prayer. The writer of Hebrews encourages us with unlimited access to the Almighty, “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Heb 4:16 NLT)
Rest From Weariness. Jesus speaks refreshing words to those who are weary, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28 NLT) It’s easy to fall, fail and be fatigued when we walk in weariness. Our rest and replenishment are realized in His presence. Matthew continues Jesus’ thought, “Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt 11:29 NLT)
Rest From Wandering. The ancient nation of Israel would find rest from years of wandering with Jehovah as their Rock. Resting in the Him gives us a reassuring residence in the Rock of our salvation. The psalmist writes, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge.” (Ps 18:2 ESV). He is our solidity, safety and security. There is a distinctiveness derived from resting in Him. Moses asks God, “For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and Your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and Your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?” (Ex 33:16 ESV) We are different and unique because of His devotion and undying love.
Christian leader Joyce Meyers writes, “When your soul is resting, your emotions are okay, your mind is okay, and your will is at peace with God, not resisting what He’s doing.”
Is this a day of worry?
Is this a day of weariness?
Is this a day of wandering?
He gives rest from all of these in His presence.
Find Him . . . find rest.