May 21, 2014

No vacating God’s Word

. . . He leads me beside still waters. (Psalm 23:2)

This morning I rose and gazed out the window at our daughter’s backyard pool. Of all the places we holiday, this one is the best. A perfect hostess, comfortable home, great food, entertaining dog, warm weather outside and AC inside, and the still waters of a swimming pool; what more could a person want? I’ve been on vacations where my mind was filled with conflict and frustration, meaning no rest at all. This week is not like that. South Carolina isn’t heaven, but this is a lovely place to take a rest.

The Bible often talks about rest in a different context. It is the rest of totally trusting God. That trust comes from allowing the Word of God to do its work. Reading it is important. So is being open to what God says. He shows me what causes inner turmoil and conflict, but the Holy Spirit also uses it to bring correction and closure so that I’m trust Him and am at rest.

Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:11–12)

Of course this rest is more than a state of being right now. It points toward the eternal rest that is ahead of me, but for now, there is nothing like having God expose and then change any unsettling thoughts and motives that worry my inner life. Who can vacation when antsy on the inside? I am so glad that God proves . . .

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8–9)

Another thing about the Word of God is that it does what God wants it to do. I can’t plan that or make it happen, but He can do it, using it just as He says, “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)

God’s Word helps me with temptations too, which can multiply while on vacation. I’m tempted to eat too much, exercise too little, spend too much money on all those bargains, and forget about the responsibility to read and study and keep up with submission deadlines (my online courses do not go on vacation). I feel as if God has brought us to this place, but even here the only weapon I have against the suggestions of Satan is the Word of God. Jesus is my example . . .

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:1–4)

I don’t know what other people do, but when we take time off to travel or rest, I cannot take a vacation from daily Bible reading and prayer. To be what God wants me to be, even if loafing, I need His words for, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the (woman) of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16–17)

Thank you Father for the still waters and the calm heart that only You can give. This is a lovely place to rest.

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