The stress in each of our lives is caused by the way we individually handle our circumstances.
Psalm 37:1-3 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither …Trust in the Lord, and do good…dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
Fret: to fear, to worry, be anxious or troubled, to doubt or have unbelief. We’re not trusting in the Lord when we fret.
Trust: depend on, have confidence in God and his word. When we rest in the Lord, we have relief from things that trouble us.
Psalm 37:4-7 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass…Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
These verses say we’ll have rest by 1) not fretting, 2) trusting God, 3) delighting in God, 4) committing or entrusting God with our life for what we face because we’re relying on him, not our own way. God says by Isaiah to not do your own ways, find your own pleasures, or speak your own words and then you’ll rest in God. When we’re worrying, it’s because we think God needs our help (pride) to solve a problem. To rest you have to trust the word and depend on what God says. A person who knows what the word says and won’t do it, isn’t trusting in the Lord because they aren’t obeying his word.
Isaiah 58:13-14 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure…and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord…shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee…
Jesus was in a ship and taught parables to the people on shore. He said types of ground are like peoples’ hearts. Those with hearts like stony ground receive the word but have no root, so are offended when affliction comes because of the word.
Mark 4:1-2 And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship…And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,
Mark 4:16-17 And these…stony ground…heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root…endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.
Jesus taught parables to the people on shore. Afterward he explained the parables to the disciples and told them to pass over to the other side of the sea. There was a storm as they travel and when Jesus was sleeping, the disciples went to him, saying he didn’t care that they’re going to perish because the ship was sinking. How many times have we been found accusing the Lord that he doesn’t care about a problem we’re going through?
Mark 4:33-41 And with many such parables spake he the word…and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples…when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side…And there arose a great storm…waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part…asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said…Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said…What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
Jesus rebuked the wind and then he rebuked the disciples that they were so fearful and had no faith. They had their eyes on the winds and waves instead of faith in what he told them. He said to pass over to the other side, not that they were going to sink in the storm. If we’re found accusing God, we need to repent of our lack of faith. Having faith we need to trust what the word says, even if what we see looks impossible and like nothing will work out. God allows trials and tests to prove what is inside us and to help our faith increase. Jesus said the disciples had no faith in their situation. Sometimes we think our thoughts are very important, but God’s thoughts and ways are higher than ours.
Isaiah 55:8-11 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
God’s word never fails. To rest, we must believe his presence is with us always to take us through our hard trials.
Isaiah 43:1-2 But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
The three Hebrew boys didn’t fear going into the fiery furnace. They told Nebuchadnezzar that whether God delivered them or not, they wouldn’t bow to his idol (Daniel 3:16-18). Daniel didn’t fear the lions’ den because he had confidence God would help him (Daniel 6:16-23). God told Moses that his presence would go with him and give him rest.
Exodus 33:12-14 And Moses said unto the Lord, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight…And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.
If we choose to sin, God will not be with us. God sent fire to the altar for the burnt offering. He didn’t want any kind of fire.
Leviticus 9:23-24 And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle…came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the Lord appeared…came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed…the burnt offering…the people…fell on their faces.
Nadab and Abihu didn’t use the fire God said to use so they were slain. Aaron held his peace – he didn’t have anything to say. If we have rest in our heart and we’re trusting God, we won’t have a lot to say or be murmuring and complaining.
Leviticus 10:1-3 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died…Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.
Aaron didn’t grieve the customary grief but Moses told him to let the people grieve for Nadab and Abihu. Aaron couldn’t sympathize with sin or it would have affected him. Aaron didn’t go around talking about it or trying to find sympathy. If God pronounces judgment, it’s his judgment and we don’t have anything to say about it.
Leviticus 10:4-7 And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan…said unto them, Come near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp. So they…carried them in their coats out of the camp…Moses said unto Aaron, and…his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the Lord hath kindled. And ye shall not go out from the door of the tabernacle…lest ye die: for the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you. And they did according to the word of Moses.
God told Joshua not to fear the enemy that came because he would give the enemy into his hand. God can do whatever he wants to help us fight the battle and give us victory. Most of the enemy in this battle was killed by hail.
Joshua 10:6-11 And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua…saying, Slack not…come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us: for all the kings of the Amorites…are gathered together against us…Lord said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee. Joshua therefore came unto them suddenly …slew them with a great slaughter…chased them…as they fled…the Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon them …and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.
The Lord fought and more died by the hail than by their swords. The Hebrew word for “standing still” is the same word as “rest in the Lord” in Psalm 37:7. God answered Joshua’s prayer for all Israel, not just for him. God wants us to have faith that he’s with us to fight for us. We have to trust his power. God wants to abundantly bless and give victory in every trial!
Joshua 10:12-14 Then spake Joshua to the Lord…and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon…And the sun stood still…until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies…So the sun…hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like…that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel.
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)