The Quest for Rest
Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. — Joshua 1:6
Every epic quest has peril, an evil villain, an insurmountable problem, a hero, and a spectacular ending when all is made right. Joshua and the Israelites’ quest to enter God’s rest is no exception. Before they could dwell with God in the land where He promised them rest, they had to drive out the enemies living there. They faced the peril of walled cities, expertly trained soldiers, superior weaponry, and an enemy who knew they were coming. But none of that mattered because God was on their side.
He exhorted Joshua as the Israelites’ leader to be strong and courageous — not terrified or discouraged in the face of what seemed like unbeatable odds. God promised to be with them to help them overcome every peril on their quest as long as they obeyed His words.
In the same way, we face a battle with sin, our great enemy, in our quest to enter God’s rest. We are in danger of missing the extraordinary blessing of God’s rest because sin separates us from God. Like the Israelites, we do not have to face our battle alone, as God sent the ultimate Hero, Jesus Christ, who is the only One who can clear the enemy of sin from the land of our hearts. Just as God saved Joshua and the Israelites from their adversaries, Jesus’ death and resurrection can save all people completely from the wrath due them for their sins.
We win the battle by obeying God’s command to repent (turning away from our sins), receiving Christ’s gift of forgiveness, and walking in the power He gives us to lead new lives. Then we can enter His rest.
Our Hero makes all things right in the end.
Jesus’ death and resurrection wash away the sin in our hearts, restore our relationship with God, and regenerate us to make us new from the inside out. He knows we could never win this battle alone, so He does the fighting for us. What a relief! And He continues to fight for us our whole lives in our quest to drive out the enemies of sin that creep in over time and try to get in the way of our relationship with God. We can rest knowing we have a Hero in Jesus who saves us.
Father, help me to be strong and courageous — knowing You will give me victory to wage all-out war against anything that keeps me from You. I invite You to cleanse my heart and gratefully receive You gift of forgiveness so I can be at rest.
Excerpted with permission from Sacred Rest by Cheryl Wunderlich, copyright Cheryl Wunderlich.
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Rest feels like an indulgence sometimes, right? Like a luxury we can’t always afford in our days full of hard work and to-do’s. And, yet, Jesus rested. He encouraged the disciples to rest (Mark 6:31). He took time to lounge around the table and talk with the disciples, sinner, and Pharisees (Matthew 9:10). Even though He knew the raging spiritual battle that was going on in His lifetime on earth, He trusted God. Can’t we? Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily