Rest is one of those things that is usually in short supply this time of year. Family, parties, last minute shopping, returning gifts, cooking…the list could go on. This time of year requires more hours than we have days to get it all done. And then after everyone leaves, the clean up and undecorating await.
Rest is what Joshua emphasized to the tribesmen of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh. The Lord gave the tribes west of the Jordan rest so these warriors could return to their families (Josh. 22:5). One activity suggested in the Group Plans (p. 61 of the adult Leader Guide) focuses on this word “rest.” The suggestion encourages leaders to explain that because of Jesus we have been promised rest, which provides us victory and security (Matt. 11:28-30; 2 Cor. 4:13-15).
Rest was one part of the promise to the Israelites. They would find rest from the constant struggle for existence once they inhabited the promised land. This rest was part of their inheritance and was a gift that came with the territory. The land did not provide the rest; rather, the God who gave the land provided the rest. For future generations, their disobedience to the God who provided the rest put that rest in jeopardy.
Jesus also promised rest to those who followed Him (see Matt. 11:28-30). This rest is also a gift provided by the Father. Without Christ, we have the burden of trying to earn our way to God (this is our disobedience). However, in Christ we find complete rest from our search for something secure. Jesus alone is God’s provision for our rest. If we reject this provision, we are choosing to reject His rest. True rest found in the security of faith in His Son is the gift awaiting His followers.
How does one’s faith in Christ give a person the security of rest? How would you explain this promised rest to someone who has yet to place his or her faith in Christ?