Finding Rest in the Rock

Gary Bird

In the busyness and trials of life, finding true rest can seem like a distant dream. Yet, the Bible story of Jacob in Genesis Chapter 28 provides us with a road map of what it means to 'rest in the Rock.'

Jacob, a man weighed down by troubles, struggled to find a moment's peace. Surrounded by challenges and constantly on the run, the idea of finding solace seemed impossible. However, his story teaches us that he discovers the rest he desperately needs in the most unexpected of place.

The Struggle to Rest
· Our struggle to find rest often comes from internal and external factors. We find the concept of resting on a “rock” as uncomfortable, as it challenges our preconceived notions of productivity and success.

· It can seem unlikely, given our packed schedules and endless to-do lists.

· We may even deem it unsafe, as finding rest could make us feel vulnerable to life's unpredictable nature.

· Lastly, it can appear unreliable—will we truly feel refreshed, or will it just be time wasted?

Genesis 28:18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.

1. The Pillow of Trust: Laying Down Your Head

In verse 11, Jacob uses a stone for a pillow, signifying trust. Resting our minds on the solid foundation of faith means to trust in God’s stability and provision, not our own strength. When we make Christ the Rock our pillow, we learn from Him, embracing the comfort and instruction He provides (Matthew 11:28-30). He doesn’t give us a life void of problems, rather he gives us a life that’s full of Him to help us overcome.

2. The Pillar of Rest: Establishing a Memorial of Peace

Genesis 28:18 introduces us to the 'pillar,' a symbol of where we've found peace. For Jacob, this was a literal stone set up as a memorial. For us, it is the daily habit of personal sanctuary where we meet God that reminds us of the peace that comes from resting in God. It's a tangible representation that anchors us back to the tranquility we've experienced in His presence.

The pillar is a place we can return when we are off center or we wonder. No one is sinless and we all need to be pushed back to where we should be from time to time. This is the purpose of Christ, our pillar and spending daily time with Him in the Bible and prayer.  

3. The Pouring Out of Self: An Offering of Surrender

Finally, verse 18 speaks of pouring oil on the pillar, an act of dedication. When we find our rest in God, we are moved to pour out our hearts in service and worship. It's a conscious choice to dedicate our efforts and acknowledge His sovereignty over our lives.

We can only do this and will only do it when we truly find rest in the Rock of our salvation. No one gives their all to something that’s not their everything.  

Embracing Rest

Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. [29] Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. [30] For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

In Matthew 11:28, Jesus invites us to find rest in Him, echoing the rest Jacob found at Bethel. It's an invitation to lay down our burdens and find comfort in the Rock of Ages. As we learn to rest in Jesus, we build our pillars, lay our heads on pillows of trust, and pour out our lives as a living sacrifice to God.

In our journey toward finding true rest, it's vital to recognize that genuine peace doesn't come from a life devoid of challenges, but rather through embracing the enduring presence of Christ, our unshakeable Rock.

Jacob's encounter with God left him with a limp, a permanent reminder of his struggle and the divine intervention he experienced. Despite this, he walked away with something far more valuable: the profound rest and peace he had longed for, found only in the steadfast love and strength of God.

This same rest is available to us all. When we lean into Christ, our Rock, we discover a sanctuary of peace amidst life's storms. It's a rest that renews our spirit, strengthens our faith, and aligns our hearts with the divine. As we face our trials, let us remember the promise encapsulated in 1 Corinthians 10:4c, "and that Rock was Christ." It's a powerful assurance that in Christ, we too can find the rest we desperately seek, not as a temporary escape from our troubles, but as a permanent state of peace and comfort, anchored in the love and faithfulness of our Lord.

Gary Bird

Gary and his family are core members of our church. He teaches an Adult Sunday School, directs the Bus Ministry, and oversees the Earning for Learning and Rest Home Ministry programs. He and his wife are blessed with five children.

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