Devo: “… I will give you REST.” + Psalm 23

“Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

How often is it that we find ourselves caught up in the busyness of life? Even when we are doing “nothing”, or “resting”, we are checking social media, playing a game on our phones, watching a movie, talking with people, or listening to music. In today’s society we are obsessed with finding things to do. We can’t just sit still and allow ourselves to truly rest.

In all honesty, life is exhausting. There is no doubt about that. So often we find ourselves desperately searching for a break from life or just a moment where all the craziness that is grasping for our attention will stop. However, the reality is, we cannot find true rest. It is impossible on our own. There are things that can refresh your physical self or maybe calm your mental health, but really there is nothing that will truly satisfy that need restoration…. Or maybe there is a way.

Through Jesus, we can find that perfect rest. He is the one who can truly fulfill that desperate need. “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I {Jesus} will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.

Back in February, I was blessed to go on a “rest” retreat with my youth group where we learned what it means to truly rest, what it means to “Selah”. In the book of Psalm, the word “Selah” is written quite often found away from the main part of the passage, off to the side. “Selah” means “to pause.” The weekend was centered around finding “Selah” and the passage, Psalm 23. This entire passage is centered around the idea that God, the Great Shepherd, will bring rest even through the storms of life. Let’s take a look at this passage, then break it down.

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.            
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

 

Let’s start with the very first line, “The Lord is my shepherd.” A shepherd is someone who looks after sheep. He protects them and provides them sanctuary. That is exactly what God is to us. He is the place we can run to for protection and sanctuary. He is our SAFE PLACE. “I shall not want.” Not only is God our protection and sanctuary, but he is our satisfaction. Through Him, we are safe, protected, and we won’t need anything, because He will provide us with everything we need. He is everything we need.

Verse two says, “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.” In otherwords, God will bring us, or lead us, to the place of rest. He ALWAYS leads us to back to a place of rest.

Verse three, “He refreshes my soul.” The Lord will RESET your soul. He will make it anew, refreshed, and feeling well-rested. “He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.” This means that whatever is to happen, will happen for His glory. As Christians, we are expected to bring glory to His name. If we lean into Christ and are surrounded by His sanctuary then we will be directed by Him down the path that brings glory to Him.

Verse four, “Even though I walk through the darkest valleys, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.” No matter what storms in life you face, no matter the difficulty of the situations you’re in, no matter how scary the road has gotten, when you’re in Jesus, there is nothing you have to fear. Why? Because He, who is all-powerful, who is in control of all things, and who is your sanctuary will protect you and guide you through it all. “Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Jesus will comfort you through all situations and be there to guide you. 

Verse five, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” Imagine being brought to a table surrounded by your biggest enemies. When I said that a name, or face, of someone (or someones) popped into your head. How awful would that be? Yet, even if we were to be forced into a situation where we were surrounded by our greatest enemies, God will still have control, He would still be protecting you, and He would still have sanctuary over you. Even in what would seem to be the most stressful, fearful, or intense moments in life, God will give you rest

Verse six, “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life….” In the beginning of this last verse, we see that God’s love and goodness and mercy will PURSUE (to find or employ measures to obtain or accomplish; to seek out) us. Jesus will pursue us constantly, every day for the rest of our lives. He wants to seek us out. He wants to be our rest, our sanctuary. 

“In peace I will lie down, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” – Psalm 4:8

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
  though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]

  There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
  God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
  Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

  Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
 He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.
   He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

  The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Pslam 46

In Pslam 46, again we see how God is our refuge, our sanctuary, even in the chaos that can be overwhelming our lives. To feel His presence, to know His rest, we must “be still, and know that { He is } God.”

 

Now with all of this said, with this passage broken down, verse by verse, and other verses to help backup Psalm 23, how is it that we truly get rest? We have already talked about it being impossible to do on our own… soooo… what do we do? Well, it’s not easy, but we have to submit ourselves to Christ. Not just part of ourselves, not just certain aspects of our lives, ALL OF OURSELVES to Him. It comes to saying and living out, “I cannot do this on my own… Jesus I give up. I’m Yours.” 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” -Matt. 11:28

Since you are my rock and my fortress,
    for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
 Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
    for you are my refuge.
 Into your hands I commit my spirit;
    deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.

 

xx Maddie

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