In this hustle, bustle world, many of us need rest, but it’s often hard to find. Unless you like naps like I do.
I love naps, especially on Sunday afternoon. Climbing onto my bed with a light afghan to cover me, I breathe in the sleepy afternoon air and drift off to sleep for an hour or so. I usually awake refreshed and ready to sit down at my laptop to write. Sunday afternoons are my writing days.
I think God is in favor of naps. After all, he did set aside a whole day for rest. No work. Just naps. I find it crazy to believe that out of all the commands in the Bible, most of us struggle with this concept of rest. It should be one of the easiest. What keeps us from resting?
Even though a variety of reasons may cause our inability to take a break consistently, God often has way of helping us do so.
God Provides Rest, When We Don’t Want It
A friend of mine spent almost a week in the hospital because of a mistake during a routine procedure. Not happy about the forced “vacation”, Betty complained to me. “This is ridiculous!”
“It will work out,” I reassured.”You won’t be in here forever.” But her face told me she wasn’t so sure. She wanted her active life back soon. It’s difficult to rest when we can’t’ do anything else. Have you noticed that? We lie there and think of all that needs to be done or we want to do. But when we find ourselves in these “forced rest” places God will use it for good. Rest is good.
Could you use some rest?
As we continue our study of the book of Ruth, we’re digging into scriptures about the rest God wants and provides for us. We finally made it to chapter three. Naomi’s hope is returning, and I think her old personality begins to emerge. Her eyes are no longer glued to the deficits in her life, but rather her focus changes to Ruth’s needs. (This is always healing.) Below is the reading plan for the week with scriptures taken from the Book of Ruth Key Word Bible Study. If you’re using the study, we are on page 139, Day 16.
Monday: Ruth 3:1 One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home for you, where you will be well provided for. (NIV)
Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you? (ESV)
Prompt: The word “rest” is not used in the NIV, but it is in the ESV. The Hebrew word handled differently is Manoah (maw-no-akh). It’s main meaning is “rest.” I love seeing the difference between two definitions, but actually using both helps us better understand her intentions. Write down your translation of this verse combining these two translations.
Tuesday: Ruth 1: 8-9 Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. 9 May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.” Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud.
Prompt: If you had difficulty with Monday’s prompt, Ruth 1: 8-9 sheds further light on the Naomi’s desires. Manoah lies buried under our English here also. Read its definitions:
Quiet, that is, (concretely) a settled spot, or (figuratively) a home (place of) rest.(Complete Old Testament Dictionary).
Naomi wants to help Ruth find a “settled spot” or a “resting place.” Do you have a resting place? Naomi was speaking of a husband for Ruth, but let’s make this personal and take it to a heart level. Do you have a “resting place”? Where is it?
Wednesday: Hebrews 4: 9-10 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.
Prompt: When we see the word “Sabbath” we automatically think of the literal day of the week observed by the Jewish people. But the Sabbath-rest in this scripture goes beyond the Ten Commandments. This rest is found in trust. It’s found in covenant, like a marriage. What does a groom vow when he marries his bride? Jesus is our bridegroom.
Thursday: Hebrews 4: 2-3 For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. 3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’” And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world.
Prompt: According to the scripture, how do we enter this rest? Has your belief or trust in Jesus granted you this rest, or do you find yourself still trying to fix everything in your life and being “good” enough?
Friday: James 2: 25-26 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
Prompt: Remember (if you’ve been studying with us for awhile) Rahab’s work was chesed, merciful, loving acts of kindness. Her faith in the one true God prompted her actions. Ours should also. If our “works” or chesed does not flow from a “resting place” what happens to us?
Rest In His Love
When we put all of this together, the story of Naomi’s plan to find Ruth a resting place and the story that evolves out of that hope mirrors what God wants for us. He’s provided the Kinsman Redeemer who paid the price for our redemption. Our bridegroom awaits. Are you resting in His love or trying to earn it?
Wednesday Night Virtual Bible Study
Join me from the comfort of your own home as we dig deeper into this “resting place” of God. I’m excited to share with you an excerpt from The Book of Mysteries, by Jonathan Cahn. I think you’ll be challenged and blessed. Just follow me on Facebook and hang out on my Timeline at 7:30 PM ET Wednesday night to join the LIVE teaching. Let me know where you’re from and that you’re watching!
Thanks for visiting! May you experience the resting place of God!