This is the usual time of year for holidays. A time for a bit of R&R – rest and recuperation. Schools are traditionally on their six-week break and families head off for a bit of sun (hopefully)!! I remember, while growing up in the North East, the shipyards and coal mines shutting down for their annual two-week holiday; the last week in July and first week in August was almost a total shutdown in the area!
Ask any doctor and they will tell you rest is essential for physical health. When the body is deprived of sleep, it is unable to rebuild and recharge itself adequately. Your body requires rest.
Ask any athlete and they will tell you rest is essential for physical training. Rest is needed for muscles to repair themselves and prevent further injury.
Rest is very important, and not just during a two-week holiday, and God knew how vital it was for the body and mind, that He initiated one day of the week as a ‘rest day’.
While for this year things have been somewhat turned on their heads, we still need time to rest and reflect. Time to re-charge for the next phase!
Psalm 91 says that ‘Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the Shadow of the Almighty’.
The word ‘dwelling’ means to stay in God’s presence and to be aware of it at all times, to be in constant communion with Him rather than just popping in occasionally when we remember! That’s a hard thing to do in our busy lives, but by carving out the time to do so, we know that we are in His will, keeping short accounts with Him and therefore can rest in His presence and love.
God’s presence is all around us, creating a place of safety and protection, He is our refuge and fortress. According to the Psalmist, the safest place to be is ‘in the shadow’! I could think of safer places than a shadow!!!! Using the image of a mother hen protecting her chicks, the Psalmist likens that to us being under God’s protection. It’s an incredibly safe and secure place to be, guarded against everything this world can throw at us.
Psalm 91 is full of promises for those who dwell in God’s presence; however, God doesn’t promise us a world free from danger, but He does promise us His help whenever we face danger and are afraid. Spending time with Him daily will make a huge difference to our lives and it will start inside of us, changing us and strengthening His Spirit in us so that we become more like Him and are assured of His presence, protection and provision.
The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd. I always have more than enough. He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love. His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss. That’s where he restores and revives my life. Psalm 23:1-3a (The Passion Translation).
Enjoy the rest!!!!!