Isn’t is significant the difference of a full nights sleep compared to the alternative? Miss too many and the effects begin to evade all arenas of life. Even the best nights sleep, for weeks can not touch the true soul rest found in union and communion with the Lord.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest (quiet, recreation, refreshment).
Take my yoke (metaphorically) upon you.
Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls (mind, feelings).
For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Jesus here is offering true soul rest. Soul in the Greek, which has a different meaning than the Hebrew which is more of a complete wholeness instead of divided as a trichotomy in Greek thought is psychais, ψυχαῖς, from the same root as soul (psyche) or a person’s distinct identity unique personhood or personality. One’s feelings, desires, and affections.
This type of rest is not found anywhere else although a nice nap, a vacation on the shore, or a spa appointment can be enjoyed. They do not touch the rest of the soul. True soul rest is found in yielding, not achieving. It’s found in abiding in Him. The Greek meaning of rest here is anapausin, ἀνάπαυσιν, quiet, recreation, refreshment, intermission; by implication, recreation — rest. It reminds me of another verse where if we will do something, something automatically seems to happen in the verb tenses; loosing one’s life, one will find it (automatically) in literal interpretation from the verb tense of the Greek in Matthew 10:39.
One metaphor I like to imagine from the verse, Psalm 46:10 (the meaning of the Hebrew of being still means to sink or relax) is imagining a big, soft comfortable chair, sinking in and feeling any tension of thoughts roll of the tightness of the shoulders – and enjoying the Nearness of God!
“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”
In all His splendor He awaits for us to meet Him, and avails Himself to share time. Sometimes, we can even physically feel His manifested presence, His panim or paneh , פָּנִים wit the root of meting Him face to face, by stopping to acknowledge Him with open hearts. As a young girl, I didn’t quite know how to express what I sensed and later realized was the presence of God, the Holy Spirit. I once remember telling my grandmother that sometimes “I can feel my hair grow” as I didn’t know how to describe what I felt. Now, I yearn for it daily, and can tell when there’s more of a need to just sit in communion with Him for the soul rest and nourishment, bringing living water to my soul.
There’s no where else I have found a comparison, even though a spa day would be a delight some days! His Presence feels different from His Glory, kabod, כָּבוֹד, or only glimpses of it here on earth where for a few times it was so heavy that the strength to stand was gone and the peace that flooded my soul was considerably different than after praying and releasing a request to God.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake. – From Psalms 23
One of the beauties of Sabbath rest as well (Isaiah 58:13-14), is that it is a gift to be able to delight in God! Receive it and savor it, the benefits of resting in Him and delighting in Him on Sabbath are… transformational!
May this be an encouragement to stop. Go to Him in your heart and mind. Acknowledge Him and meet Him to receive deep soul rest – wherever you are! Can you hear His invitation with outstretched and scarred hand, “Come unto me?”. He gives deep soul rest, freely to those who desire to be in union and communion with Him and comes by yielding the will to be transformed by becoming, not anything to be attained by our own strength.