Dear Church Family,
These updates began as reflections on God’s Word to encourage us as we passed through the “stay home—stay safe,” orders of the governor. In the past two weeks they have morphed into trying to keep a stable biblical worldview in the light of the chaos going on in many of our great cities. There is no intention to be political. This is not to say that we, as Christians, cannot or should not have biblically consistent and legitimate political positions, but only to emphasize that this is not the purpose of these updates.
The discussion of the political aspects of all that is going on in our world we will reserve for another forum.
So yesterday we reflected on what to expect in this world, from a biblical perspective. Today, let’s consider what to expect from the world to come.
The Prophet Isaiah, whose prophecy is sometimes called the Old Testament Gospel, says this in the eleventh chapter…
Isaiah 11:10 And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious.
In all the noise and tumult of the present world, those last few words sound beautiful—and His resting place shall be glorious. Like many people, I enjoy the sound of waves crashing on the shore. Because I spent a few weeks of most summers as a boy at the shore, and then worked by the ocean every summer as a teenager and as a college student, I really fell in love with the sea and its many moods.
But my love affair with the waves is as a listener and observer, not as a rock in a jetty, or the sand on the shore, or a cliff at its edge. I am not so sure any of us would enjoy the relentless pounding, night and day, of the sea upon us personally. And yet, sometimes we feel like the events of this life and the news of the world is like that – one wave after another pounding away at us.
I remember once, as a teenager, being in the Atlantic Ocean when there was a hurricane out at sea. The waves were strong and relentless. My friends and I would laugh because as long as we were vigilant and ready to respond to every wave, we were fine; but if one caught us off guard, it was really hard to get back in control because one wave after another kept crashing into us. It made for great body surfing, but it was a struggle to get back on our feet after the ride because the waves just kept rolling into us, one after another. This, in turn, made for some funny sequences as one of my friends would try to get back on his feet.
It can be like that in this world, but without the humor. You are bowled over by some piece of news and before you can get your equilibrium back, another wave rolls in and hits you (think Job).
This passage promises an end to that, and a rest for the people of God. There is, of course, a rest that comes from ceasing to attempt to justify ourselves to ourselves in the eyes of our God by our own works, and trusting instead in Jesus alone. But more is spoken of here—this is the everlasting rest that belongs to those who have died to sin, risen with Christ, and look to that eternal rest promised to all who believe.
Titus 3:4-6 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior…
If you look for rest only in the relief of some of the endless tidal waves of this world, you are missing the joyful anticipation of the great rest that awaits the believer. It is not a simple break in the action, a moment to catch your breath and brace for what’s next.
It is much more than that—it is a blissful state of happiness and contentment which is all bound up in and provided by the Lord Jesus. It is a stillness that turns the sea to glass. It is the end of all duty and suffering, and as Richard Baxter says, the culmination of the life and sum of all Gospel promises and Christian privileges.
It is the hope of this rest that gives the believer the stamina for this life. It makes us like Issachar…
Genesis 49:15 He saw that rest was good, And that the land was pleasant; He bowed his shoulder to bear a burden, And became a band of slaves.
We serve the LORD here because we see that the coming rest is good.
We will talk more about the nature of that rest tomorrow. I hope it is refreshing to look up and away from the tedious crashing of the waves here below for a moment.
O LORD, we would set You always before us. Because You are at our right hand, we shall not be moved. Therefore, our hearts are glad and our flesh rests in hope. You, O LORD, have shown us the path of life. In Your presence is to be found fullness of joy. At Your right hand are pleasures forever more.
Meanwhile, O LORD, we are called to duty among the relentless waves of this restless world. (Psalms 123:2) Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to You, the LORD our God, Until You have mercy on us.
May we find the strength by grace to (Psalms 37:7-9) rest in You LORD, and wait patiently for You; to not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. May we cease from anger and forsake wrath; for evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on You, O LORD, they shall inherit the earth.
Hear our prayers today for all those we know and love, and may Your strong, loving, and merciful hand be upon them. We pray LORD, that You would be glorified in all that transpires, and we thank You for the life that now is and that which is to come. In the blessed name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen!