In the kingdom, there are no great men of God, just humble men whom God has chosen to use greatly. How do we know when we are humble? When God speaks, we tremble. God is looking for a man who trembles at His words. Such a man will find the Spirit of God resting upon him; he will become a dwelling place for the Almighty.
Entering the Sabbath Rest of God
Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? —Isaiah 66:1
God asks for nothing but ourselves. Our beautiful church buildings, our slick professionalism, all are nearly useless to God. He does not want what we have; He wants who we are. He seeks to create in our hearts a sanctuary for Himself, a place where He may rest.
In the Scriptures this rest is called “a Sabbath rest” (Heb. 4:9). It does not, however, come from keeping the Sabbath, for the Jews kept the Sabbath but never entered God’s rest. The Book of Hebrews is plain: Joshua did not give the Israelites rest (v.v. 7-8). And after so long a period of Sabbath-keeping, Scripture continues, “So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God” (v. 9).
The question must be asked then, “What is this Sabbath rest?” Let us explore Genesis in pursuit of our answer. “Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work” (Gen. 2:3). Before God rested on the Sabbath, there was nothing special or holy about the seventh day. Had the Lord rested on the third day, then it would have been holy. Rest is not in the Sabbath; it is in God. Rest is a prevailing quality of His completeness.
The Sabbath was not a source of rest for God; He was the source of rest for the Sabbath. As it is written, “The Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired” (Isa. 40:28). And even as the Sabbath became holy when God rested upon it, so we become holy as we put away sin, as the fullness of God settles and rests upon us.
The rest we seek is not a rejuvenation of our energy; it is the exchange of energy: our life for God’s, through which the vessel of our humanity is filled with the Divine Presence and the all-sufficiency of Christ Himself.
We must be enveloped and permeated With God. The Hebrew word for rest is nuach; among other things, it means “to rest, remain, be quiet.” It also indicates a “complete envelopment and thus permeation,” as in the spirit of Elijah “resting” on Elisha, or when wisdom “rests in the heart of him who has understanding.” God is not looking for a place where He can merely cease from His labors with men. He seeks a relationship where He can “completely envelop and thus permeate” every dimension of our lives, where He can tabernacle, remain, and be quiet within us.
When God’s rest abides upon us, we live in union with Jesus the same way He lived in union with the Father (John 10:14-15). Christ’s thought-life was “completely enveloped and thus permeated” with the presence of God. He did only those things He saw and heard His Father do. He declared, “The Father abiding in Me does His works” (John 14:10).
There is rest because it is Christ working through us. Jesus promises us, “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it” (v. 14). How vain we are to think we can do miracles, love our enemies, or do any of the works of God without Christ doing His works through us!
This is why Jesus said, “Come to Me . . . and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). In a storm-tossed boat on the sea of Galilee, Christ’s terrified disciples came to Him. Their cries were the cries of men about to die. Jesus rebuked the tempest, and immediately the wind and sea became “perfectly calm,” even as calm as He was (Matt. 8:26). What program, what degree of ministerial professionalism can compare with the life and power we receive through Him?
Our efforts, no matter how much we spend of ourselves, cannot produce the rest or life of God. We must come to Him and enter into the rest of faith. Resting in God and surrender to His will is the key to humility and spiritual power.
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