Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Letter From William Bradford - February 18, 2022

Letter From William Bradford

February 18, 2022

My Soul Finds Rest in God

As we enter the Sabbath this evening, we cease from our regular responsibilities, our usual work, and we physically rest.  But are we really at rest?  

There may be many of us with concerns or anxieties still weighing on our minds. The news cycle does not rest.  It serves up a constant stream of stress and outrage, with accounts of rising crime, inflation, and an imminent threat of war. We have had little reprieve from Covid over the past two years. In addition, many are burdened with severe health trials that impact the individuals and the caretakers.

As we ask ourselves the question "are we are really at rest", let's look to God's word for guidance.  Psalm 62:1-2 provides some very reassuring words from David, especially powerful in the New International Version.

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.  Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. (Psalm 62:1-2 NIV) 

The Hebrew word translated as rest here is dumiyyah (H1747) and means silence or a quiet waiting on God. It describes being in a state of mind that is at rest in God regardless of all the noise that may be bombarding each of us from the outside.  We can also look to Jesus's own words in Matthew 11:28 for further guidance on this topic.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matt 11:28 NKJV) 

For those weary and weighted down at present, Christ our Lord says come to Him, and He will give you rest. Returning to David's thoughts in Psalm 62, a few verses further into the psalm David writes the following.

Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge. (PS 62:8 NIV) 

Jesus Christ, our advocate and high priest, knows our human condition and as we pour out our hearts to God, we can ask for rest. We can also give to God whatever it is that keeps us from quiet rest as we see in 1 Peter.

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7, NKJV) 

Brethren, there is stress and disquiet all around us, yet we can be at rest as we look to God as our refuge and our salvation. God our Father and Jesus our Lord care about us and can be counted on to help us deal with whatever situations we face.  We can have rest in God at this time as we also look forward to a future when there will be peace and rest for all. God encouraged Jeremiah with this future vision at a time when he was most discouraged about the state of affairs in Judah, inspiring Jeremiah to write the following. 

The Lord bless you, O home of justice, and mountain of holiness!' And there shall dwell in Judah itself, and in all its cities together, farmers and those going out with flocks. For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul."  After this I awoke and looked around, and my sleep was sweet to me. (Jeremiah 31:23b-26 NKJV) 

We may be ceasing from our physical work and starting a physical rest, but are we really at rest in our minds?  If we could use a little more true rest, let's pour out our hearts to God this Sabbath, casting all anxiety and fears upon Him and fully trusting our Rock in turbulent times.

As Jude wrote in Jude 1:2, may "mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you" this Sabbath.

-Bill Bradford

PS: I am excited about continuing the James study before services tomorrow and will send a portion of chapter 1 notes out tomorrow morning.  We are also recording the study and posting it as local or private on the Chicago and Beloit UCG websites.