Welcome to this weekend's In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley.
Are you just realizing that Christmas is just a few weeks away? Today's podcast helps you pause before the season really gets going to answer the question, am I rushing, rusting, or resting? And let's just look at those three for just a moment. The people who are rushers, they're the people who are always on the go and always on the move. They're people who are in the process of achieving and accomplishing, people who know how to set goals, people that you'll not find just sitting around wasting time. They seem to have a sense of direction, but oftentimes they may seem to be people who are spinning their wheels, but doing nothing you will never find in their life.
On the other hand, they're the rusters. They're the people who are sitting on dead center. They never get excited about anything. You couldn't get them off dead center if the Lord Jesus Christ himself were coming. And they say, don't get excited.
Man, just relax. Don't rush through life. Those are the people who are not really the real achievers in life. They're not the great accomplishes in life.
Now, these are the two extremes that we oftentimes see, but neither of these is the one that our Lord wants us to live in. And probably Americans are more tired in January than all the rest of the world together. We've been rushing around for a whole month trying to get everything ready for one day. And as some teenagers said to me not long ago, he said, you know, Christmas is an exciting thing, but there's something awfully disappointing about us.
And what's that? He said, Well, by 12 o'clock, it's all over. And look what we've done to get ready for a few hours on Christmas morning.
Well, that may be one aspect of Christmas, but you and I know that's not the real thrust of it. But how many of us fall into these categories? All of us fall into one of these three.
We're the type of people who are always rushing around. All we just sort of rusting out. Nothing's really happening in our life. And as long as we have the necessities, we're sort of satisfied. All there is a group of people who have really and truly learned to rest in the Lord.
But here is a tremendous lesson that I believe if you and I can learn it, it will surely prolong our life. When you look at the life of Christ, one of the things that glares out that's never stated in the gospels is this. You never hear the Lord Jesus Christ saying, and I thought about this so many times when we think about how we talk. He never said to his apostles, we must run over to Gethsemane for a quick word of prayer. He never talks about rushing, hustling here and there and hasting there, but always he seems to be walking with a sense of tranquility and calmness and perfect peace. And you and I would think, well, a man who only has three years to minister and whose life and whose ministry is the most important minister in the world and the whole of eternity. Not just life here, but the whole of eternity will revolve around this ministry. And he never got in a hurry.
He never even uses such terminology as hurry and hasten and rush and all the things that make up most of our life. So in the light of that, if you'll turn back over to Hebrews chapter four for just a moment, another familiar passage to you, I'm sure there are three things that I want you to get a hold of in this passage of scripture. I hope you'll keep your Bible open because I want you to read along with me some of the things that I want to share with you. There are three things primarily that I want you to notice. The first one is this, and this is the exhortation concerning rest. Now he's relating this whole passage. It's all couched into one incident in the Old Testament. You'll recall when the nation of Israel came to the land of Canaan, they've come out of Egypt into the wilderness down to Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments up to the promised land. And they sent in 12 spies. They came back.
They had two reports. A majority of 10 said we can't do it. A minority of two said God's already given us the land.
And what he's saying here is this. He's couching it into a promise that God made to Israel because he had said to them through Abraham hundreds of years ago, I'm going to give your seed, your descendants, a land called Canaan. It'll be a land flowing with milk and honey. It'll be a land of rest. After 400 years of bondage in Egypt, he says I'm going to bring them out into a land flowing with milk and honey where they can rest. Now they'll have to take the land, but he says I will do the fighting for them. Now with that in mind, remembering that they came back with two reports, the majority won by saying no, we can't take it.
There are walled cities. There are men like giants and we're like grasshoppers. And so they voted not to take God's promise. Now in the light of that, the rite of Hebrews is saying there is another rest and he's couching it in the picture of what those Israelites would never have forgotten.
And that is for the next 40 years they wandered around in the wilderness dying from disease and war. He says now there is another rest that I want you to understand. Now I want us to follow, if you will, beginning in verse one and notice what he says about this rest. The first thing he does for us is to identify the nature and the source of this rest. Notice, and it says it many times. Beginning in verse one, he says, Therefore let us fear lest while a promise remains of entering.
What? His rest. Rest is spoken of 10 times in these 11 verses. Whenever there is a continuous recurring of a word, God is trying to say something very specifically to us. He says, first of all, in verse one, it is his rest. It is something God has provided and has promised to his children. Not the rest of the land of Canaan, a physical rest back there, but he says it is a spiritual rest. It is a Sabbath of the soul. Now, when you and I think about the commission we've been given and we think about the responsibilities we have as fathers and mothers, as young people, you're in school, you think about the responsibility of your vocation. You say, but now wait a minute. Is he saying that I ought to just relax in life?
What is he saying? And that's what I want us to understand here. He says, Verse five, Again in this passage, they shall not enter my rest, since therefore it remains for some to enter it. And those who formerly had good news preached to them, they knew the truth of it.
They failed to enter in because of disobedience. He again fixes a certain day today, saying through David after so long a time, just as he said before today, if you hear his voice, don't harden your heart, but rather open your heart and listen. For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not have spoken of another day after that.
Now, here's what he's saying. If the rest that he's referring to here only related to Joshua's rest, he wouldn't be offering it again because Joshua's rest was that for the nation of Israel in the land of Canaan. But he's speaking of a spiritual rest here to his believers. What is the rest that he's referring to? He's talking about a rest of dependence upon the Lord. He's speaking of a rest of trust in him. He's speaking of our ceasing our own sense of effort and doing it our way and having it our way, but rather being willing to commit ourselves for the Lord to control and to govern, that we are to look to him as the source of all things, not only when we get in trouble, not just when we sense a need, but to accept him as the absolute source when we feel the need and when we don't feel the need. We are to stop trying to accomplish in our strength, but rather to rest in his strength.
He says there remains a rest for us if we will simply believe and trust him for it. Now, when you were saved, the Holy Spirit came into your life. Why did he come in? He came in, listen, to be for you and me everything that the Father knew we would need to be, he requires us to be, and all that he knows we are inadequate to become within ourselves. That's why he says the Holy Spirit is in you, with you, and upon you.
Why? Because he knew we would need to absolutely and totally and completely depend upon him. So listen, watch this, what is their alternative? If we're not resting in him, trusting in him and depending upon him, in whom are we trusting? What are we depending upon?
And what is the resource that we keep going to? You see, he says there remains a trust, there remains a rest, there remains an abiding relationship, and what he's referring to here is a relationship with Jesus Christ, whereby when you and I awaken in the morning, we would say to him, Lord, I want to take my position in you, that is, I am dependent upon you today. I'm just having to wait upon you and leave it to you and know that as I go about my activities, there may be many, there may be many, you may be a person with tremendous responsibility upon you. You may feel the weight of that. But he says that you and I have the privilege of doing that and that he will shift the weight to himself.
Now, many of us have tried carrying it ourselves and it doesn't work. He says there remains a rest for the people of God. That is, every single believer has access to the supernatural, unending, always total top reservoir of everything we need in him. Another third thing I want us to notice here is the entrance into that rest and notice what he says. And if you'll begin in verse six, since therefore, he says, it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter in because of what?
Because of disobedience. He again fixes a certain day, and then, of course, he says that they harden their heart, and then move down, if you will, to verse nine. There remains, therefore, a Sabbath rest for the people of God. Now, you recall in the Old Testament in that second chapter of Genesis and the second first couple of verses there, it speaks of the Sabbath that our Lord provided after the creation. It says, Thus the heavens and the earth were completed and all their hosts, and by the seventh day God completed his work, which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done.
Now, let me say something about the rest here. When he says that God rested, that doesn't mean that God became very weary in creating this world, but rather it was a sense of contentment as a result of the completion of a task. When I read that and began to think about what that really meant, it began to tell me what our Lord means in this area of rest. When you and I are resting in him, rather than being continuously harassed and hurried and rushed and fatigued and weary, we ought to end up with a day of a sense of contentment that you and I have completed the task that God has given to us for that day. So that he wants us to live our lives in such utter dependence upon him, and you see what this eliminates?
It eliminates worry, fretting, fuming, anxiety, and fear. If we get up in the morning and we take our position of in him, depending upon him, our hands, our heart, our minds, our will are open to him to supply what we need, then we don't have to worry. Listen, the same Lord who said the birds won't have to worry about food, and the lilies of the field won't have to worry about the color, and he says the hairs of your head are numbered. If a Lord is willing to say that, we don't ever have to worry about coming to him and saying, Lord, where are you?
No child of God will ever find God sleeping and off the job of providing. He wants us to rest in him, trust in him, and believe him. And listen, as we trust, as we rest, as we live in him, and as we're able to live in his contentment, there will be less worry, less frustration, less anxiety, less rushing and running around and more trusting.
And you know what will happen? We'll get more done. And at the end of the day, instead of being weary and frustrated and anxious and worked up about it all, as so many of us have been so many times, and I know exactly how that feels, he says, instead of all that, you and I can walk away from yesterday and close our eyes upon it and know that we can rest at night physically with a sense of contentment because we have completed the work. Now, listen, here's the key. We have completed the work that God has given us to do for that day and God has equipped us to do.
Now, the problem is this. Far too many of us, we do what God wants us to do during the day and then we add what we want to do to it. The only thing he's promised is his energy, his strength, his wisdom, his power to complete what he's called us to do.
Anything you and I add to that, we're on our own. And more than likely, our weariness, our frustrations, our anxieties, our fears, and the frustrations we face are the result of how we pad God's schedule for our day. So he says, you and I are to rest in him, depend upon him, trust in him, look to him, and be affirmatively, consciously aware that we are walking in his power, in his energy, in his wisdom, and that all the decisions we have to make, he's going to give us direction, all the energy we need, he's promised to provide that, and it is a matter of trust. So he says, if you'll notice, in verse 10, For the one who has entered his rest has himself also rested from his works. That is, he has a sense of contentment and joy and accomplishment and achievement that he has accomplished God's purpose for his life of that day.
Listen, as God did from his, not weariness, but contentment. Verse 11, he says in light of that, he begins in verse one by saying, let us fear lest we miss it. Verse 11, he says, therefore, be diligent, that means have intensity of purpose, do your best to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of what?
Of disobedience. Now the last word, depending upon which Bible you're using, in the third chapter, look at that 19th verse of the third chapter, because there are two reasons people do not rest. Listen, and so we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. And all through that 13th and 14th chapters of Numbers, God reminds them because of their unbelief, they couldn't take Canaan. Now he says the two things you and I have to deal with.
Number one is unbelief. Do we really and truly believe that God's sufficient? Do we really and truly believe that he will make it possible for us to live a life of contentment while we are actively engaged in serving him, actively engaged in your vocation? Can we do that at the same time, achieve the goals, reach the goals and achieve the accomplishments that he set for us?
Can we do those things and at the same time have a sense, listen, of inner tranquility and quietness and calmness and contentment? And he says we can and we will if we're willing to do what? He says that you and I enter this rest the same way we entered salvation.
How was that? You and I stepped into the saving grace of God in one way, by faith. We said I will accept the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal savior and that moment you were saved. Then he says then how do you and I enter that rest that brings about what? A Sabbath of the soul, an inner contentment, a tranquility of the heart, a peace amidst the activity and the goals and the desires that you and I have set for our life.
How do we achieve these things in the right and proper way? One single word, f-a-i-t-h. We get up in the morning and we accept as our own for that day. What does he say? Give us this day our daily bread. He didn't say give us this week our weekly bread, give us this month our monthly bread, give us this year our yearly bread. And far too many people are so concerned about Obyanda they forget about today. And I believe one of the reasons our Lord has so arranged his spiritual economy the way he has is this.
He knows if you and I had it all worked out for a whole year at the time we wouldn't be trusting in him, we would be trusting in our plans. So what does he say? He says give us this day our daily bread. How much energy is he promised? Just for today. How much strength? Just for today.
How much of anything that you and I need? Just for today. He says we ought to by faith enter his rest. You say well now salvation you do it once. How many times do you enter his rest?
I believe it is every single day. Every day we must accept what he has provided because you see for the believer he's going to provide everything we need a day at a time moment by moment. How do we do it?
We simply trust him for it. And he says we're to live with a beautiful sense of contentment and trust and rest in him. And I wonder this morning is that not what you and I really want?
Is that not what we really desire? To be able to live in this society in which we live but at the same time finish the day with a sense of contentment. Of completion. Of rest. Of hope that God has accomplished his will for our life that day. It can only be done a day at a time with absolute dependence and trust and resting in him. Thank you for listening to Rushing, Resting or Resting. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries stop by In Touch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
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