So the Lord gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers (ancestors), and they took possession of it and lived in it. The Lord gave them rest [from conflict] on every side, in accordance with everything that He had sworn to their fathers, and not one of all their enemies stood before them [in battle]; the Lord handed over all their enemies to them.  Not one of the good promises which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel failed; all had come to pass. – Joshua 21:43-45

  1. Rest means being in your God-designed place
  2. Rest means being through with any struggles needed to get there
  3. Rest means not worrying about outside attacks or threats—it involves security and safety
  4. Rest is not only a external state, but it is also an internal experience—close in nuance to English “peace” or “soothed”
  5. Rest is freedom from distraction and agitation, to be able to focus on creation/enjoyment of delight, beauty, and warmth
  6. Rest is designed to lead to refreshment of life—new energy, new joy, new eagerness to ‘see what God has for us today’
  7. Community rest is designed to be for all people—not just biblical Israel.
  8. Community rest will involve removal of the treacherous and destructive
  9. Rest is designed to “reset” our values—when we are not ‘fighting fires’ we can see the Big Picture better
  10. Rest was initially, was in the OT, is now with us spiritually, and will be in the New Future— based on the presence of a rest-making and rest-giving God
  11. The Shabbat/Rest is our response to his Nuah/Rest-making efforts against our enemies:
    • Our legal guilt (justification)
    • Our condemnation under the spiritual powers (Christus Victor)
    • The degenerative situation caused by our sinful behavior (redemption)
    • Our deception about God’s heart, our sin, our helplessness
  12. This nuah/rest fight was won by the One ‘meek and lowly of heart’
  13. Rest is something we are supposed to share with others…
  14. …because our good-hearted God shared it with us

Like the cattle that go down into the valley [to find better pasture and rest],
The Spirit of the Lord gave them rest.
So You led Your people [O Lord]
To make for Yourself a beautiful and glorious name [preparing the way for the acknowledgment of Your name by all nations]. – Isaiah 63:14

The exciting potential offered in the theology of rest is that the Bible deliberately takes a word which is intimately involved in the physical inheritance of the land of Canaan which had been part of God’s promise to Abraham and uses it to include both a physical concept and a deeply spiritual meaning. The rest which God gives is at once historical (Canaan), soteriological (salvation), and eschatological (the kingdom and our reign with Christ). This is another beautiful illustration of the corporate solidarity of some of these themes in Scripture. Each step in the onward movement of such themes as the promise with its sub-themes such as the rest from God, the Messiah, and the Seed, points back to the beginning and to the ultimate goal intended by God. Each successive historical step harmoniously combines the beginning step in which the totality was programmatically announced with the end in which that totality shall be unfolded. Therefore, things combined in the promise stage were often disjoined in their actual historical fulfillment, but never in their ideological or theological connection. Each part implied the whole doctrine and the whole stood for each of successive participating steps as they were (and are) being enacted. This can be seen in an Isaac or a Solomon who epitomized the promised heir at that point in history, but then it was always with the tension expressed in Hebrews: “not yet” was the full realization accomplished. – Walter C. Kaiser, Jr



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