Andy Hollifield 6-7-18
Matthew 11:28 Come unto men all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
The word “rest” is used 275 times in the bible beginning in Genesis 8:9 speaking about the dove Noah sent out saying, “But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him in the ark…” The last time it is used, as least in this sense, is in Revelation 14:13 “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”
I have gotten really good at plagiarizing from my preacher friends when they preach something that triggers a thought in my mind which needs all the help it can get. Terry Sprouse preached out of 2 Chronicles 14 about king Asa and how he pleased the Lord. He was going into battle against Zerah the Ethiopian who had a million man army and 300 chariots. Although Asa only had 580,000, they were all mighty men of valour. Nevertheless, Asa went out to fight. When he did, he prayed. Verse 14 says “And Asa cried unto the Lord his God, and said, Lord, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O Lord our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O Lord, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee.” “Help us, O lord our God; for we rest on thee.” King Asa really knew how to fight a battle didn’t he? At the start of the verse it said “He cried unto the Lord, his God.” When you know God, you can go into battle with the confidence that God will not only hear, but will deliver, even against impossible odds.
I just like the phrase “We rest on thee.” If we could just grasp that concept and do it, it would be unreal the amount of heartache we would get to miss out on. As I read this, I got to thinking about other folks in the bible that rested on the Lord. In 1 Samuel 17 there was a soldier that was so big that it took four verses to describe him. Goliath was a formidable foe. He was so intimidating that he put the whole army of Israel on the run. When David saw him, he took offence that this man would reproach Israel and defy the armies of God. David never mentioned the size of the battle but was only interested in the reward he would get WHEN he was victorious. He made the soldiers he spoke with tell him the rewards three different times. Between the rewards, plus the fact that he would be stopping the reproach on God and his armies, David just couldn’t pass up the opportunity regardless of how big his enemy was. To make a long story short; all it took was a rock, a young boy, and a little faith to snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat. A nine foot tall giant soldier versus a young shepherd boy. God delivered David even against impossible odds.
There is also the story of Elisha waking up surrounded by the Syrian army. His young servant, in a panic, called it to the prophets attention. Elisha prayed that the Lord would open his servant’s eyes and the young man saw the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire. When the enemy came for him, Elisha prayed for the Lord to smite them with blindness. The Lord did and then Elisha led them as children right into Samaria into the company of the King of Israel. The Lord then opened their eyes and let them see where they were at. Instead of allowing them to be killed, Elisha ordered great provision to be provided to them and that they be sent on their way. This time, not one shot fired and God still delivered even against impossible odds.
In 2 Kings 19:19 we find the story of Hezekiah and the prayer that he prayed concerning Sennacherib and his army. “…Save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the Lord God, even thou only.” Not only did Sennacherib not get close enough to shoot an arrow into Jerusalem, he did it without Hezekiah and his army even having to fight. In verse 34 God said he would defend the city and he did it that night. His angel smote one hundred eighty-five thousand of the Assyrians and by morning they were all nothing but dead corpses. Once again God delivered Hezekiah, even against impossible odds.
I could tell about how the widow Ruth was a stranger in Israel and was loved by a rich man and wound up married to him and became one of the great (several times over) grandmothers to Jesus. I could also tell of Elijah taking on 450 false prophets of Baal in a contest. How he stacked the deck against himself, so to speak, but still came out on top. He then outran a horse and chariot to the bottom of the mountain. The odds in the contest were 450 to one. God delivered again, even against impossible odds.
Next, there is the story of you. The story about the time when you had absolutely no hope of change in your situation. All avenues of help were seemingly closed or you had been told that it couldn’t happen. Maybe it was not only back then but maybe right now. That situation you are going through that has ripped your heart out. Nothing you can say or do changes anything. God isn’t explaining what he is doing. You try to pray but it don’t seem like your prayers are going past your upper lip. God has heard you. You have the same guarantee as Jeremiah did. Three times God told him, “I am with thee to deliver thee.” Just do like Asa and rest on him. Soon you will be saying, “God delivered me; even against impossible odds.” With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26). Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!
Andy Hollifield 6-7-18