My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from Him.
Webster’s dictionary defines rest as follows: abode, a stopping place, a place of shelter and lodging, freedom from activity, quiet, tranquility, peace of mind or spirit, to repose without anxiety, to trust, rely, and to depend upon. This psalm, written by David, describes where such rest may be found, namely in God alone. The world around us, with no concept of God as its Father, digs broken cisterns of entertainment, power and prestige to attempt to find the rest that their souls need. In vain they try to fill a God shaped eternal vacuum with temporal misshapen pieces which will not satisfy. Even as those who belong to God, we need also to learn what it means to find our rest in God alone.
One of the ways in which we can try to find rest in Him is to attempt to find rest in His provisions. Our Heavenly Father delights to provide for all our needs and states in Romans 8:32, “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall He not with him also freely give us all things?” To major, however, in looking to His provisions as the substance and purpose of our relationship with Him is to fail to find that rest. It is to repeat that error of those in John chapter 6 to whom Jesus replied with the following statement, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.” (John 6:26) Meeting the needs of the temporal cannot satisfy a heart that is designed for eternity. God has created within us a soul that was never destined to find rest simply in His provisions. His desire is to train us such that we learn to look beyond his provisions to find that rest for which we were created. This rest comes from a relationship with Him as described in Habakkuk 3:17-19.
“Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.”
Habakkuk’s rest was not found in the provisions of God, but in the person of God.
Another way in which we may misalign our effort to obtain this rest is to focus on the programs of God. The Lord summarized this problem when He addressed the church at Ephesus. “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you. You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” (Revelation 2:2-5) Our Lord knows that He alone will satisfy our hearts. Unless our hearts are fixed upon Him, everything will dissolve. Our busyness for God can prevent our business with God. We cannot replace the person of God with the programs of God. We must remember, repent, and repeat (Rev: 2:5) those things which drew us near to His person.
II Peter 1:4 refers to “his very great and precious promises.” We read also of God’s promise to Abraham in Hebrews 6:14 “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” It is through the many promises of God in the scriptures that we know of His Mercy, His Grace and His love to us. We see other promises in the scriptures that are given to others, or that we take for ourselves without full understanding of the promise. We all see through a glass darkly. At other times, we experience a long delay in the fulfillment of the promise. Such was the case with Abraham. God had promised an heir coming from his own body. (Genesis 15) After waiting ten years with no fulfillment of the promise, he agreed with Sarai to have a child, Ishmael, through her maidservant Hagar. (We read of the results of that decision in our newspapers daily.) Abraham was focused on the promise and decided to “help” God with the answer. Later, God tested him again in regard to a promise. “By faith, Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.” (Hebrews 11:17-19) Abraham looked beyond the gift of God to the Giver Himself. He was enabled to relinquish his own understanding of the promise of God because of a relationship with God. He chose the person and trusted Him to fulfill the promise in His own way.
Psalm 62:1 points to a rest that goes beyond provision, programs, or promises. It rests in the person of God. Throughout the ages, we have seen many who have found their rest in God, and God alone. One of these was David. Years had gone by since the kingship was declared to be David’s by the prophet Samuel. Year after year he was hunted and driven at times from his own people. Surely he despaired of the fulfillment of God’s promise. He was constantly in need of provisions. At one time, upon returning to Ziklag, he found his town destroyed, and his possessions captured along with his wives. And what purpose did his followers have in mind? They were talking of stoning him! I Samuel 30:6 states “But David found strength in the LORD his God.” We find this attitude further described in Psalm 27:4. “One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” In this verse we see David’s activity described as “ask,” “seek,” “dwell,” “and gaze upon.” David had found the secret of the rest that God intends for us to have, and that is in the person of God.
There are certain markers in my life which tell me that I am not finding my rest in Him. Some of these are anxiety, irritation with others, and discouragement. Whenever I experience them, they are a reminder that I am looking to a source other than the person of God in which to find rest. How can I know when my rest is in Him alone? G. Campbell Morgan related two words in a sermon on the subject of worship that were used throughout the scriptures. These words describe a life that is perfectly at rest with God and are used in worship of Him. They have never been translated and are in common use today in the original language. These words are “Hallelujah” (Praise the LORD) and “Amen” (let it be so). Am I able to say “Praise the LORD,” and let it be so” in the midst of life’s perplexities? To the measure in which I am able to relinquish control of my needs, circumstances around me, and the lives of others into His care, I experience His rest. It is my prayer that as you direct your attention to the “ask,” “seek,” “dwell,” and “gaze upon” as David described in Psalm 27, that your lives as well will find their rest in the person of our LORD.