A Moment of Rest
By Mariel Davenport
What are you carrying today that doesn't belong to you? What worry, concern, burden, anxiety are you carrying that only Jesus can carry? Our Good Shepherd has a request to make of us today. But I fear we may not be ready to obey...not because it is something we don't want to do, but rather it is something we struggle to do. Oh, I really would love to be able to do it, and I'm sure you would too...
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters." (Psalm 23:1-2)
As I dug into the original meaning of the verb here (makes me lie down), I could sense the demand in it. It is not a suggestion: "He asks me to lie down” or "He suggests I lie down."
No, the word 'rabas' in Hebrew is a command meaning to rest; lay something down; to lay down in rest, security and safely. God is commanding you and me to lay down our burden and spiritually rest our souls in Him. (Not necessarily take a nap...though a good nap always helps!)
The place of rest He desires to place us is also very telling. The Judean landscape is not naturally a green place. It is dry, parched, and sandy. A shepherd has to put much time into working the field; tilling it, cultivating it and planting it...in order to grow the young, tender, green shoots of grass the sheep like best. Then the shepherd could graze his sheep on his finished work.
The Shepherd of our souls desires you and me to graze on His finished work on the cross. If He could save us, He can certainly handle whatever worries us and burdens us!
He desires you and me to lay down our burdens, not just because He can handle it, but because He cares for YOU! (1 Peter 5:7)
Right now, in the midst of that worry or issue or concern...the God of the universe is asking you to turn it over to Him. Let Him think on it and work it out in His timing and His perfect way! We need only turn our minds on Him and meditate on his word and His completed work.
Secondly, the implication in this verse is not necessarily a physical rest...Jesus reiterates this thought in Matthew 11:28:
"Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."
The word translated 'rest' here in the NASB is a word that literally means 'tranquility in the midst of labor.' Jesus wasn't telling the disciples to take the week off, though He does command us to physically rest 1/7th of our time (i.e., the Sabbath).
The implication here and in Psalm 23 is to spiritually be still before Him. Meditating on His word in the midst of screaming kids, spend time talking to Him over a sink full of suds and dishes, as you fold laundry, or handle the mundane tasks of your day.
Our Father does not intend for us to carry the burdens He alone can shoulder. I am choosing to make a list of burdens that I will lay down at His feet and leave there! Then I will choose instead to meditate on Psalm 23 and trust my Shepherd afresh today. How will you release your burdens to the Father?
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The Lord Jesus placed a calling on Mariel Davenport’s life to know Him with increasing intimacy and to make Him known through His Word. It is not surprising that when the Lord Jesus first captured her heart it was through His written Word. Since that time the Lord has coupled Mariel’s passion for Him and her gift of teaching to make Himself known through her. Mariel’s delight in the Lord Jesus and His Word is evident in her teaching and her writing. She is a Proverbs 31 Ministry She Speaks graduate and the founder of Growing in Godliness Ministries based on 1Timothy 4:7-8. Her first published Bible study, Knowing God Through His Names, is available for purchase. Mariel and her husband Mike are blessed with two sons, who they enjoy home schooling. They make their home in Wake Forest, NC. Visit her website www.growingodliness.com . Send your comments to Mariel.
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