GOD’S SOLEMN INVITATION TO REST
Matthew 11:28-29 “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Hebrews 4:11 “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”
Focus: The importance of Resting in the Word, Will, and Love of God.
The daily stresses of life can leave us so weary, that we just cannot rest. Many do not get enough sleep, because they have to manage two jobs just to be able to afford to keep a roof over their heads. Some are burdened because they are unemployed, and have no means to pay their bills, or provide an education for their children. Others are deeply concerned and fearful because of the rising crime rate, the effects of global warming, and rising food prices. God knows about all of these things, and He has a Perfect Solution.
That solution is found in the first verse. God has Faithfully Promised that if we come to Him with all of our burdens, He will give us rest. When God makes a Promise, He fully intends to keep it, because He greatly delights to meet our needs. His love for us will always be our Guarantee. God wants to exchange our Problems for His Peace, and our Burdens for His Blessings. Therefore, whenever He makes a Promise He also gives instructions so that we will be able to fully experience its benefits.
The instruction for this Promise says, Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me. A yoke is a harness that connects two animals, and makes it easier for them to pull a heavy load. Spiritually, a ‘yoke’ is a symbol of Connection with God, for Companionship, Communication, Compassion, Commitment, Comfort, and Cooperation. When God asks us to take His yoke, He is inviting us to connect with Him, so that the ‘load of life’ will be lightened, and we can learn of His Character. Before we can Take His Yoke, we first have to lay our burdens down, so that we can be free to enjoy the benefits of a connection with God. To ‘lay our burdens down’, is to put the matter before God in Prayer and leave it in His Hands, knowing that He has heard and will provide the BEST solution at the RIGHT time.
As we ‘yoke up’ with Him, we will experience His Companionship, Communication, Compassion, Commitment and Comfort, and He will cause us to learn how to Cooperate with Him so that we can receive supplies for all of our daily needs. God wants to give us Rest from things like Doubt, Worry, Fear, Anxiety, Anger, Bitterness, and Unforgiveness. He wants us to Rest in His Love, His Presence, His Power, His Performance, and His Promises to Provide for every area of our lives. God wants us to learn of His Goodness, Faithfulness, Mercy, and Grace, which are found in His Word. He wants us to be Confident about His Unconditional Love for us, especially since He Faithfully Promised to be our Refuge and Strength, and be our VERY PRESENT HELP in time of Trouble (Psalm 46).
God wants us to take His Invitation to Rest, very, very, very, SERIOUSLY. In the second and final verse, He gives us a warning that we cannot ignore. He bids us to Labour, which means to be diligent, and to make urgent earnest effort, so that we will enter into His Rest. God wants us to swiftly accept His Invitation to enter into His Rest, so that He can keep us from falling into UNBELIEF, because He knows that Unbelief will cause us to end up in the Lake which burns with Fire and Brimstone (Revelation 21:8). God says that without Faith it is impossible to please Him. He says that when we come to Him, we MUST BELIEVE that HE IS GOD, who is Willing and Able to Reward us when we diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6, 4:16). God says that without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). Therefore, let us run to the Throne of Grace that we may obtain Help to increase our Faith and Fully accept God’s Rest for our souls.