Locations & Times

Promise to Claim – God's Promise of Rest

by Leigh Ann Dilley on February 24, 2022

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 

Verse 28 of Matthew 11 is our focus for this devotional; however, it is important to note the next two verses complete this promise of God. We’ll get to them laterDo you find it interesting that this promise is really an invitation? Jesus says, “come to me” and invites us to give Him all that is too hard for us. He does not want us to strain under the load of being human.

Once again, Jesus asks us to be counterculture. We live in a culture where we are judged by our productivity. We have apps for our computers, cell phones, and wrist watches that tell us how much time we spend doing various activities.

What makes you weary? I painted my kitchen recently. Kitchens are hard to paint because it’s physical work. It involves a lot of hand painting around the cabinets, countertops, ceilings, doors, and windows. Physical work can be exhausting, but so can mental work. Think about all that is required to prepare income taxes. Emotional work is exhausting too because it often involves relationships, and good relationships take time and energy. Caring for the needs of others can wear us out.

Burdens are similar and can be described as carrying a heavy weight. There is a negative innuendo that accompanies the word burden. Burdens are challenging and difficult. They can also be physical, mental, or emotional. Burdens can be spiritual too; like carrying the heaviness of sin. 
God’s promises about carrying the heavy load are a common theme in the Bible.

1 Peter 5:7 Cast your anxiety on God because He cares for you!

Exodus 14:14 The Lord will fight for you. All you need only to be still.

Consider Joshua, who was old after many years of battle. With God’s help, Joshua had conquered thirty-one Kings, so the Israelites could enter the Promise Land. Then God said to him in Joshua 13:1b You are growing old, and much land remains to be conquered. Do you think Joshua felt weary and burdened upon hearing God say this? Then in verse 13:6b, God assures Joshua: I, myself will drive these people out of the land ahead of the Israelites. Can you hear Joshua’s relief? I’m sure Joshua claimed that promise.

Jesus’ promise of rest does not mean we are free to do nothing. Here is where we apply the rest of this scripture. In Matthew 11:29-30 Jesus says, Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

What are we supposed to learn from Jesus? Jesus relied on His relationship with His Heavenly Father and allowed God to navigate the details that can exhaust us as humans. Jesus promises to be gentle and humble with us when we come to Him. Jesus promises our responsibilities will be easy and light, and we can rely on Him to carry whatever is heavy.

In closing, my prayer for us is that we get off the productivity treadmill of exhaustion and we approach Jesus often. May we be intentional and talk to Him about the help we need, and we remember to listen and learn from His word. The reward will be rest, but more than that, the reward is an ever-developing relationship with Jesus and a reliance on His promises. 

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