Psalm 23 is such a well known and quoted Psalm. I like to think of verse 2 as a small lake with water that is so absolutely still I can see my reflection in it. I would sit beside it, basking in the magnitude of God’s creation.
I would watch the cloud’s reflections change formation, listen to the various bird songs, and just drink in His Presence. Verse 3 that follows the description of green pastures and still waters says, “He restores my soul…”
The fruit of true rest is having our body, soul, and spirit restored. Let me take you to the Song of Solomon. I read it as though I am speaking to the Lord. “O my Dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the cliff, let me see Your face, let me hear Your voice, for Your voice is sweet, and Your face is lovely.” It’s a perfect picture of intimate communion that results in heart-rest.
Matthew 11:29-31 says to go to the Lord when we are burdened, or literally bent over with heavy emotional weights. His promise is that He will give us true rest when we release the burdens that were not ours to carry in the first place.
He desires that our heart be truly yoked to His. We do that by giving Him our fleshly yokes, and receiving His which is light and fits perfectly. If an oxen’s yoke is off kilter just a little, it will injure them so that they are not able to pull a load. Our fleshly burdens cause spiritual injuries.
Here’s a great verse. Though written to Israel, we can apply it to our own lives. It says, “…his burden will be taken away from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil.”
The anointing oil speaks of the deep inner work of the Holy Spirit. Here is a line from a new song that speaks of that work. ‘Your words like oil penetrate the places in my heart that were hardened through fear.’ His whispered words penetrate like oil, meandering through tiny cracks and crevices to soften the hardness through hidden sin.
When we have disobedient unconfessed sin in our heart we will not be able to rest. Isaiah 30:15 says, “…In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength. But you would not.”
We will not find rest when we continue to choose our own way. Jeremiah 6:16 says, “…Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk in it.”
Let us follow God’s example. Genesis 2:2 says, “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” I encourage you to evaluate how you are spending your Sabbath, and seek ways to cease your work and make time to rest in His Presence.