When I was first saved, one of the first passages I read was Matthew 11:28-30. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. A promise of rest to all. (28) 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. (29) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (30) These verses have been imprinted on my heart and forever on my brain. Many times I have needed encouragement and have been able to encourage myself by reciting them. As I was meditating on what to write next in our series on Numbers In The Bible, these dear friends came to mind - more specifically, the phrase "I will give you (thee) rest." I wondered if God had given us a "number" for this phrase in His Word. I searched my Bible and discovered that this phrase appears three times! Three is the number for the Godhead, the Trinity! The only true rest which can be found is found in the Lord, God.
(1) The first phrase was found in Exo 33:14, And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. God promised rest to Moses and his people for coming out of Egypt. As you know, Egypt is a "type" for the "world." It is only when we "come out of the world and separate ourselves," that we find rest. There is no rest for the unsaved. I remember before salvation feeling a void in my life - there was an emptiness that could not be filled. Coming out of Egypt and being born again, I found complete rest in Jesus Christ. It seemed as though a hundred pounds of burden came off my shoulders! When my eyes fell on Matthew 11:28-30, I was in tears because those words applied to me. God's Word showed me exactly what had happened to me. I came to Christ and He gave me rest. I am overwhelmed each time I think on my salvation day!
(2) Isa 14:3 says, And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, God's rest was prophesied by Isaiah and a promise was given to Israel that one day they would receive this rest from all their sorrows, fears and bondage. Salvation begins with the Jewish people. Twice Paul stressed this:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Rom 1:16)
But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: (Rom 2:10)
God's plan included all His creation - Jew or Gentile. The Gentile's rest comes from the same Source as the Jew's - the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The old and new covenant were completed in Jesus Christ's work on the cross.
(3) And finally, Mat 11:28 says, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. A promise of rest is made in this verse to all that labour and are heavy laden. Jesus' promise is not just to the Jew. All who come to Him will be given rest.
My friend, the pleasures of this world can promise peace and rest, but they cannot truly do so. The best spa on earth can relax your poor, tired old body but it cannot provide the rest that your spirit needs. The Word says that what is in the heart of man (his spirit) will make its way to the surface (Matt. 12:34) You can be relaxed on the outside but the turmoils and trials of the day are still churning on the inside. Does God remove these turmoils and trials from a Christian's life? No. But He promises rest to those who come to Him. We have rest and comfort knowing that nothing happens to us by chance. God allows these trials to grow us, to teach us, and to bring glory to His Name.
We also have a rest which cannot be found in any other. We no longer have the burden of sin because Jesus has taken on our sin and we are free from sin (Rom. 6:22). We no longer have the penalty hanging over us. Christ paid our sin debt and the Father sees Christ's righteousness, not ours. Praise the Lord! For our righteousness is like filthy rags in God's sight.
There is no true rest for the unsaved. But we, my friend, have a rest promised to us by God Himself. The Triune God has promised complete rest to all who come to Him. God has promised rest three times in His Word. We have the confidence that God does not break His covenant - we are children of the New Covenant through Jesus Christ. Because we are born again, we have a unique relationship with the Father. We are able to come to Him, sit at His feet and turn over all our troubles to Him. It is in Him that we find total solace.
None other can provide such rest
None other is so True
We boldly come because of Christ
To find that rest in You
Devotional by Kate Plourde
60 Day Devotional Series: Numbers In The Bible