Do I find it hard to rest because I have hardened my heart? We live in a generation that cannot rest but always looks for the next adventure or the next entertainment. Our culture is restless and we as Christians are influenced by it. Psalm 95 speaking of the people of Israel during the Exodus ends, ‘So I declared on oath in my anger, “They shall never enter my rest.”’ The Lord sometimes denies access to rest. This begs the question of our culture.
Why did God make this declaration? Backing up, God was angry because their hearts went astray and they had not known His ways. This is a characteristic of restlessness. When our hearts are captivated by surrounding distractions we have no space to focus on God and come to know His ways.
Going further back the Lord talks of a time in the desert when the people, lacking water, turned on Moses. Understandable maybe, but God’s verdict was that having experienced Him it was time to apply what they had seen and trust Him. Instead, the people hardened their hearts. This was a crucial moment that ultimately led to restless wandering in the desert. So, have I hardened my heart? I don’t know but it is worth asking God to show me if I have!
The people of Israel were excluded from rest for a period: forty years. Maybe our gracious Father will draw us back into His rest? Maybe this is something to pray for the Church?
2 thoughts on “Cannot rest?”
Do you think that there is a shared responsibility here, rather like the Romans passage in which Paul talks of God giving people over to their sin, in the same way as we are so easily distracted by so many things, and harden our hearts to Him, so we deny ourselves those opportunities to find the Oases along the way, and God also prevents us from finding them.
Yes I think you have a good point. I have always taken our responsibility as the main factor. God does however take things away and that is a challenge. Suddenly my control is gone. I have seen this happen personally and it was really distressing to realise that I had pushed the Lord too far and He was then going to deny me access to some things that I had grown to take for granted. As you say though, it is a shared responsibility, the initiative can come from either side.