Saturday, September 3, 2016

PSALM 116 continued...

"I was brought low, and He saved me.
Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you."

If you've never been brought low, I guess you can skip this part.  But if you have, it is a comfort that the being-brought-lowness is not the last word.  Returning-to-your-restness is.  Is there a better thought for this three day weekend?  The challenge for this Labor Day is to cease from your labor and not come out of the weekend more tired from celebrating than you went into it with.

Okay, confession here.  We are old people now.  Fifteen year old Hank said at the table this week after his dad's 60 something birthday, "My, my dad is really growing up!"  Yep, we are.  Our picture perfect weekend is staying at home.  A trip to Walmart is a trip too far.  I am happy to stay home and read.  He is happy to watch the Giants games he has taped.  It is with great delight that my man has begun reading his well-worn, dog-eared Louis Lamour books again since it has been so long since he has felt like he has enough free time to do just that.  Yep, we are old fuddy-duddy's and loving it!  If I had known soon enough that my man had a three-day weekend, I would have planned a trip to the coast like all the other get-out-of-towners so we could have come home with the wearies.  But, the big whoop-tee-do is that as many of our kids as can, along with grandkids in tow, will celebrate a belated birthday breakfast potluck with their dad this weekend.   When we've had all the fun we can stand, we'll return to our rest.

Yet, this verse means so much more than lazing around the house kind of rest.  it is referring to soul rest.  It is being lifted out of despair and being set in a place where our very soul is restored.  This is the promise of the Comforter.  This is the rest symbolized by the wanderers coming out of the wilderness into the Promised Land.  We too can come out of the wilderness and find rest for our soul.  That means finding that the battle is over.  We have surrendered our souls into His keeping with all the fight gone out of us. 

There is something in us that wants to fight against God with our shouting from the rooftop of our mouth that we are important!  We can do this by ourselves!  We want to be our own supreme dictator!  Then we find out maybe we are not so great at ruling ourselves.  That it is tiring to fight against God.  Even when we become Christians somehow we are slow learners.  Just look at Romans 7...

"For what I am doing, I do not understand;
for I am not practicing what I would like to do,
I am doing the very thing I hate...
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh;
for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.
For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.
But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it,
but sin which dwells in me...Wretched man that I am!
Who will set me free from the body of this death?"
(verses 15, 17-20, 24)

This is an exhausting way to live.  Every situation becomes a battle, will I or won't I sin again?
But Romans 7 verse 25 and what's great in Romans 8 is the good news...

"Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! 
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death."

Set free. 
We can quit fighting God.
We can have rest for our souls.

Once again in Hebrews we see the illustration, exhibit A
of the wanderers and the Promise Landerers...

"And with whom was He angry for forty years?
Was it not  with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?
And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest,
but to those who were disobedient?
So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.
Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest,
any one of you may seem to have come short of it...
For if Joshua had given them rest,
He would not have spoken of another day after that.
So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God."
(Hebrews 3:18-19, 4:1,8-9)

What is this rest?
It is soul rest.

It is promised, provided, and is waiting for you to believe that God can do it.
Do not be a believer filled with unbelief.
You do not have to do this Christian life thing in your own strength.
It is a gift from the Holy Spirit.
Lay it down.
Enter in.

Why?  Because God is a bountiful kind of God.

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