Rest for the soul

tree-77271_640Jeremiah 6:16: Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

People will always think they are wiser than God in the ultimate of deceptions. It began in the Garden of Eden. There, man chose to neglect the word of God. Surrounded by the best of things provided by God, living a life of leisure and abundance, man chose the path of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, disregarding God’s commandment (Genesis 3). It was really sad.

But the bible says let God be true and everyman a liar (Romans 3:4). That means it doesn’t matter how things are viewed, it is God’s perspective that is true, right and good. It is the will of God that is acceptable, good and perfect (Romans 12:1-2), regardless of who does not agree. It may not make sense, but it is the best for us.

It did not make sense to Eve that they could have the fruit of all the tree in the garden but one. That limitation to her was a sign that God was hiding something from them, did not really have their best interest at heart, and was deceiving them.

God said they will die if they ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but they did not believe, it did not sound true since they have not seen it happen. They had only enjoyed goodies since they were created. They developed a sense of false security and invincibility. They were supposed to find security in God, based on what they know about him, in his works, but they sought security in their own agenda. That was their error.

It was the same sense of false invincibility that the devil developed in heaven as he thought of being mutinous against God, developing a change of mind about his place (regardless of the glory he expresses) in relation to God. He sought to usurp the place of God, be an alternative to him (Isaiah 14:13).

It was the same false sense of insecurity that caused David to stumble in the height of his power. He was blindsided by a temptation to commit adultery (2Samuel 11:1-12:12). He was not on guard when it came to the issue of sinning against God, while he had trained his men to be on guard against intruders against the nation of Israel.

For these three sets of people, Adam and Eve, the devil and David, taking the path of rebellion against God ended “rest” for all of them. Adam and Eve left the good place of Eden and were sent east of Eden for them to struggle with thorns and thistle as they work the land.

The devil was kicked out of heaven. And to David, God said that the sword shall not depart from his house, and through subterfuge among his children, that happened in his life time. He was told that he will run before his enemy from the palace in Israel, and that happened as God raised an adversary against him in the shape of his son Absalom.

They knew the right thing but they chose the wrong. Now in this age we are being trained to have our will conformed to the will of God.

For God to have man in his image on the earth, they must have the capacity to act as they like (will power) even if that means acting against God’s word, which they did. But in Christ there is the opportunity to retrace their steps back to the right path.

We are made to have connection with God with our spirit, soul and body (1Thessalonians 5:23). It is the introduction of death (as judgement for the disobedience in the Garden of Eden) into the dynamics of things in our life that led to break down, to lack of rest, in those three areas. But Jesus said that if we learn from him, come to him, we will find rest for our souls (Matthew 11:28-30).

Coming to him is an ongoing event which starts when we become born again. It does not just stop at that. Coming to him should then become our default mode, to learn from him as he is our life (Colossians 3:1-4). As we come to him, we increasingly engage with his life. It is an everyday commitment, every hour, every moment.

For the soul Jesus talked about yoke. He said: take my yoke upon you because my burden is light and my yoke is easy, and you shall find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:28-30). That means Jesus has yoke and burden. And it is only the yoke of the lord, his burden that will lead to rest. Yokes and burdens stand for expectations. The ones that are not from the Lord breed restlessness, stress, and distress, disappointments. You are going to carry burdens and yoke one way or the other; you might as well carry the restful ones, the Lord’s.

Burdens are about things that are not good enough, that needs to be changed, while yokes are about things that have not happened that we want to happen. The difference between bearing the yoke and burden of the Lord and any other kinds from any other source is because for the former, you have the grace of Jesus helping you.

He (Jesus) did not just come with truth (what is right) but he also comes with grace which is the ability to do right. To share in the Lord’s burden is what Paul meant when he said: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). That’s what he meant when he said that he labours more than the other apostles but not him, but the grace of God with him (1Corinthians 15:10).

In the Old Testament, some prophets spoke of the burden of the Word of the Lord concerning certain places. That represents what is on the mind of God for those places. When we know what is on the mind of the Lord for us, his burden for us (what he wants to change about us), it should spur us to seek his face and not to worry.

His burdens for you are his plans for you, and he said: I know the plans that I have concerning you, of good not of evil to bring you to an expected end, to give you the best outcome in life, to help you in the best possible way (Jeremiah 29:11, 31:17).

That is the divine perspective, the perspective of the one who sees the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). You should not approach the future with agitation but with the clear sense of direction and confidence in God, that he who began a good work in you, is able to complete it (Philippians 1:6), helping you to stand perfect and complete in his will (Colossians 4:12).

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