“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength…”
The brutal forces of Assyria were threatening to flood the land of Israel. The Assyrian armies were an instrument of correction in the Lord’s hands. Yet the Lord had a way out, a way to stop the impending disaster and bondage that was now to com. It was the way of repentance and rest. The way to peace and security for Israel was to turn away from the sinful practices they had been embracing and trust God for his protection. Yet Israel chose to run somewhere else for help. They chose to trust in the Egyptians to protect them. The Lord made it clear that this choice would not save them: “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help…” (Is 31:1). The wisdom of man would be ineffective against the working of God.
God is attracted to repentant and believing hearts. Remember that Jesus came to his people after John the Baptist had called them to repentance. Repentance and rest bring us to God and him to us. The Scriptures say the Lord exalts the humble, is near the broken-hearted, opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. He also stands with those who live by faith and trust in him. The Bible says without faith it is impossible to please him (Hb 11:6).
Repentance and rest are two sides of the same coin, a coin which holds for us a great promise. In repentance we turn away from other gods and objects of trust. In rest we turn to the true God and his faithfulness. The two go together. The promise God gives to those who choose a little repentance and rest is his help. For the Israelites it was salvation from the advancing hordes of the Assyrian army. For the Christian it is freedom from the onslaughts of advancing sin and evil forces. God draws near to repentant, resting hearts.
Unfortunately, the people of Israel would not accept God’s offer. They chose to trust the forces of Egypt rather than the precepts of God. Their choice led them to suffer unimagined brutality. When we refuse to repent and rest, we too leave ourselves open to the brutalizing forces of sin and Satan.
God is waiting to draw near. It’s time for some R and R.
Prayer starter: Lord, reveal the “Egypts” I am running to.
About the Author: Lyndon Wall served as a pastor in Alberta, Canada for fourteen years. He has also served the Jos, Nigeria mission community by providing pastoral care. Lyndon is the founder of Refresh Ministries, which is dedicated to helping people in ministry enjoy “healthy souls.” Lyndon earned a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
This excerpt is from Lyndon’s devotional book “Refresh“. Lyndon wrote “Refresh“ specifically for pastors, missionaries, and ministry workers whose souls have been parched by the stresses and tests of life. Stress is a reality of life. It can harm and drain us of vital energy. It must be responded to wisely. This devotional book was written to help you encounter Jesus Christ, the great refresher of the soul and give insights that will help you live with a renewed and joyful heart.