Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
We live in a fast-paced, burnout inducing culture — always going, going, going, but seemingly never arriving. We are often deprived of both sleep and satisfaction, and we yearn for stillness. So how do we arrive at the intersection of our reach and His rest that has been promised to us, even on this side of the grave?
First, we must keep in mind that we are image-bearers of God (Genesis 1:26); we are to reflect Him through both our reach and our rest. God reached down from the heavens and created everything in the universe, but He did not keep creating non-stop. After six days of creative reaching, God rested on the seventh day. Please note that His rest was rooted in relationship; He walked with Adam and Eve “in the cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8). But when sin entered the world through their rebellion, our reach was disconnected from His rest. And herein lies the key to rest: It is not simply a cessation of our labor; it is a connection with our Lord.
When we are not in right relationship with God, we reach and we reach but we cannot find His rest. We toil and we labor, but we find no rest or relief from all of our reaching. Even when we are in a right relationship with God, rest often feels as far away from us as the east is from the west. And that brings us to God’s promise given us in our passage today: When we come before the Lord and we are still in His presence, we will experience His promised rest. You have His Word on that.
It is important to keep the context of today’s verse in mind: Psalm 46 was written during a time of great difficulties and challenges for God’s people, including war. Rather than offering a gentle reminder for “stillness,” God’s word is commanding us to stop struggling and shift our focus from ourselves to our God.
Jesus invites all those who are weary and heavy-laden to receive the rest that He alone offers (Matthew 11:28-30). At the deepest level, this is rest for the soul apart from the yoke of the Law. But Psalm 46 is also reminding us of the rest we need every week to be refreshed in our reaching. There is a special silence and stillness that will only be experienced when we are deeply connected to our Savior. Remember, God is in control of everything, even when it looks like everything is in chaos. When we are reaching within the context of our relationship with God, looking to Him for our guidance and direction and strength, we will experience the promised rest we need for everyday life as we make our way toward our promised rest for eternal life.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!