In returning and rest shall ye be saved;
In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength:
And ye would not."
I've pondered that verse before, but this time it really hit home. I've been meditating on it a lot over the past few weeks. What does it really mean to find salvation in returning and rest, and strength in quietness and confidence? Who is the object of our return and confidence?
I'll answer the last question first. Clearly, this is the Lord God beckoning us to return to Him. To find rest in Him. We do not find strength as we run ourselves past our limit serving, working, and "doing" for God... while forgetting to just BE in His presence.
But so often, we do just that. We have our own ideas of what constitutes good things to do, and, in most cases, they are truly good things. But are they the best? Are they what God has placed as priority for us, right now? When we're just busy doing our own thing, we can't expect God's blessing.
Now, I'm not discounting or discouraging ministry and serving the Lord. That's an important part of our Christian walk. But take a look at Luke 10:38-42 for a minute:
"...[Jesus] entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.
But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
Jesus knew very well that Martha desired to serve Him by having the house just so, a special dinner, and all the trimmings. But He gently rebuked her, saying that Mary, who had chosen to sit at His feet and listen to Him speak, had made the better choice.
Our service has to flow out of a living relationship with Him. Even if we're doing good things for God, He is not pleased if we serve Him to the neglect of really knowing Him. The listening must come first.
“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”
(I Samuel 15:22)
"Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened…
I delight to do thy will, O my God..."
He asks of us a listening, quiet heart, and a willing, obedient spirit.
"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
When we take time to be still and delight in the Lord, when we trust confidently in His perfect way and wait upon Him, that is when we will find His strength, and His blessing.
God forbid He need ever say of us "...and ye would not." He offers rest for our souls. But we will only find that rest and strength when we learn to sit still and commune with Him, and seek HIS will.
"And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart."
Let us first pursue the best – to know God, to be quiet and listen – and He will add everything else.