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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

Rest: Day 1

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. 
Isaiah 30:15
This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’”           
  Jeremiah 6:16

Once upon a time there was a great nation. From its amazing beginnings—an oppressed people rose up in defense of their freedom against the greatest power on earth—its history was a glorious one. As its citizens pressed forward to claim and subdue the land, then prosper there, they enjoyed both victory and bounty in everything they set out to do. In time, however, peace bred complacency and prosperity and comfort became, instead of blessings from the hand of a Divine Providence, idols in themselves. Because we become like the god we serve, these people began to believe that the purpose of life was found in material wealth and comfort, they devoted their days and lives to its pursuit. In the process they lost their connection with the unseen and eternal Source of it all.

I am speaking of the United States, right? No, I am speaking about Judah, to whom the above words of Isaiah and Jeremiah regarding her sin, rebellion, and estrangement from God were addressed. 3500 years ago. Because the parallels between ancient Judah and our nation are so striking, the prophet’s words and warnings are haunting.

We are a nation whose identity is defined far more by our going and doing than our being. We lead job and activity-driven lives, and without really meaning to, we teach our children the same by filling their calendars with lessons and leagues and play dates. Interpersonal relationships are no longer deepened and nourished by unhurried talks around the dinner table, but maintained by superficial texts and cell phone back-and-forths.

Whether you agree with me or not at this point, let me assure you that it’s not your fault--but it is your problem. The answer to the situation we face lies, first, in an understanding of what true biblical rest is and, secondly, in being obedient to its claim on our lives. For both we will turn to the Bible, the most counter-cultural book ever written!

Nancy S.

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