"The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17).
In the midst of our hurried and sometimes harried lives, it is good to pause and reflect on the various types of rest discussed and/or promised in Scripture. In our text, Israel (and by extension the New Testament saint) is promised rest in the coming Kingdom.
The first rest was that of God as He finished His "very good" (Genesis 1:31) creation and "rested from all His work which God created and made" (2:3). This perfect state was broken through Adam's rebellion and the resultant curse, which meant that God had to go to work again, this time to redeem His fallen creation. In His marvelous work of redemption, however, sweet rest is available both to us and to Him, for "It is finished" (John 19:30). Nothing remains to be done.
To the sinner, Jesus invites, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28) in salvation. To the believer, He promises: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; . . . and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (v.29). To the weary disciple, He entreats, "Come ye yourselves apart [with me] into a desert place, and rest a while" (Mark 6:31).
There is also a rest in death. "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors" (Revelation 14:13). "To you who are troubled rest with us" (II Thessalonians 1:7) in the fact that there is a coming judgment on our persecutors, who shall "have no rest day nor night" (Revelation 14:11).
"There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest" (Hebrews 4:9-11). JDM