13th January 2017

God’s Rest 

“And the land had rest for eighty years.”
Judges 3:30 (NKJV)

In our chaotic, uncertain land wouldn’t it be nice to have rest for eighty years? Even ten would be good! Five? Just one?

The book of Judges contains account after account of how Israel stopped listening to God, went into captivity or oppression of some sort, and cried out to God who would then sent a judge to deliver them. Then the land might have rest. In Judges 3 God sends Othniel and there is a rest of 40 years. After Othniel, Israel follows its usual pattern and then God sends Ehud to help them. Ehud’s is a cloak and dagger story if ever there was one—read for yourself how he kills the king of Moab and leads Israel to victory (verses 15-30)—it’s quite a gory tale. It’s after Ehud’s intervention that the land has rest for eighty years, meaning rest for two generations. Then a new judge called Shamgar comes along and slays 600 Philistines with an ox goad, which must have been a challenging thing to do.

The word for rest in this instance is the Hebrew word Shalom. It means so much more than the absence of war and political tension. It refers to the active blessing of God. It involves peace of mind and contentedness and excitement about life. It is this peace that God offers us through his son, Jesus Christ. “Peace I leave with you,” said Jesus, “My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27). This is the future God desires for humanity—a world full of great opportunities and free from the fear of war, violence and intrigue.

Of course, we don’t have such a world yet and nor did the Israelites in the book of Judges. In the meantime, we can help the land around us have rest for a little while. We can bring a taste of God’s Shalom into our family life, our work place, our churches and wherever we go.

Thank you, Father, for your Shalom, your abiding rest that you give us in Christ Jesus. Help us, please, to bring peace into whatever situation we find ourselves. In Jesus’ name.

Study by James Henderson


About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations in the UK and Ireland.
For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

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