My people…have forgotten their resting place [Jeremiah 50:6].
In this crazy, chaotic, seemingly upside-down world, don’t forget your resting place.
I love Scripture and how a word or phrase jumps off the page and makes me dig for the deeper truth behind it. One such phrase is resting place in Jeremiah 50:6.
Life seems a bit sideways and confusing right now. World events are spinning out of control. Inflation is rampant with costs rising on just about every aspect of life. Rogue nations threaten other nations seemingly without restraint or consequence. The frenzied rhythm encourages many to worry, withdraw, get angry, and lash out. It is easy to become hopeless and forget our promised resting place.
Jeremiah’s prophecy pointed toward the return of the Israelites to their homeland after captivity in Babylon. One would think this would be a joyous occasion. Yet God describes them as lost sheep, with unfaithful shepherds, wandering from hill to mountain. Having lost their direction and purpose, they also lost their resting place.
What is this resting place?
This phrase refers to a place to lie down, a place of repose, relaxation, and tranquility. It brings to mind the peace that descends once a war is over. A place of no more worry of attack or fear of danger. It is the stillness and resting described in Psalm 23:1-2, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters” [bold text added].
In the Old Testament, God promised His people a resting place in the land of Canaan [Exodus 33:14, Deuteronomy 12:10 Joshua 1:13, 15]. Once they came in and conquered it, God said He would give them rest from their enemies, they would enjoy the land, and would live in peace and safety. This promise was conditioned on unwavering faithfulness and obedience to God [Psalm 95:7-11]. Sadly, they failed to do so and God preventing the Exodus generation from entering into that rest. The first clue to staying in our resting place is to faithfully obey God’s Word and the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives.
How do we forget our resting place?
The word used for forgotten means to be oblivious due to lack of memory or attention. It may also mean to abandon or put out of sight. Why would anyone forget or abandon such a place of peace and rest? God’s Spirit reminds me of the times when I wander aimlessly among the hills of disobedience and mountains of spiritual apathy. When I allow the “cares of this world” [Matthew 13:22] and the “things in the world” [1 John 2:15] to distract me from faithfully obeying, pursuing, and glorifying God, I forget and abandon my resting place.
Additionally, the wicked world and our evil adversary try to plunder our resting place [Proverbs 24:15]. So we must remain alert to these rest-stealing tactics and aggressively resist them. The second clue to staying in our resting place is to reject the world’s distractions and influences while keeping our eyes on Jesus [Hebrews 12:2].
How do we stay in our resting place?
Failure to trust God is the source of the failure to obey Him. We don’t obey Him because we don’t really trust Him. But doubting the sufficiency of God’s promises has consequences. As a result of unbelief and disobedience, the initial generation of Israelites did not enter the rest of the Promised Land [Hebrews 3:18-19]. Although redeemed and separated, they never entered into God’s promised rest.
In addition to trusting God for His resting place, we can ask Him to strengthen our hearts in the middle of life’s storms. “He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints” [1 Thessalonians 3:13, bold text added]. The word establish means to set fast, be resolute, make steadfast, or strengthen. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” [Hebrews 10:23]. May we quiet our hearts and acknowledge God’s sovereign orchestration over everything [Psalm 46:10]. The third clue to staying in our resting place is setting our hearts resolutely on God, His Word, His promises, and His overall purpose.
Hallelujah, there is a final, undisturbed, eternal resting place!
After Creation was finished, God entered His rest on the seventh day [Genesis 2:2]. After Redemption was completed, Jesus proclaimed, “It is finished!” [John 19:30], then entered His rest [Hebrews 4:14, Matthew 26:64, Ephesians 1:19-21, Hebrews 8:1, Revelation 5:5-14]. We only enter that rest by coming to Jesus who said, “Come to Me…and I will give you rest…and you will find rest for your souls” [Matthew 11:28-30].
There remains a place of eternal rest for God’s people [Hebrews 4:9]. But it is based on an underlying condition. “We have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end” [Hebrews 3:14, bold text added]. This “if” differentiates genuine believers from those who talk a good game but have never been spiritually regenerated [John 3:3, 7] and falter along the way. Only genuine believers have peace of mind in this world, the power to remain steadfast, and a resting place in the world to come. If you’ve never surrendered your heart and life to Jesus Christ and accepted Him as your personal Lord and Savior, I pray you do so today.
May we all be diligent to enter into that rest! [Hebrews 4:11]. We have the sure Word of God to believe, examples of those who have believed and obeyed, and a personal accounting before Christ one day [Hebrews 4:13] who knows and sees all. Let us urgently, hopefully, and faithfully be about our Father’s business. The end of the “workday” fast approaches [John 9:4] when we will have rest for our souls and rewards for our labors.
Stay strong, hopeful, and blessed!