Labor Day is for many, a day to rest from work. But how do we find rest for our restless souls? Scripture, which is always saying things we don’t expect, tells us to find rest by walking.
“Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” (Jer. 6:16, emphasis mine)
Rest for our souls is found when we search out and walk in the ancient paths, on God’s Good Highway. How do we do this? Through repentance and obedience to God’s Word. Our souls find rest when, by the power only available through the gospel of Jesus Christ, we obey.
This isn’t always the answer we want to hear. Like the original recipients of God’s message through the prophet, we often cross our arms and stand still. We want to find rest some other way than God’s way. Derek Kidner comments:
As for the compassionate offer of rest for your souls, it is brushed aside—for as sinners we do not take kindly either to God’s diagnosis of our restless state or to his remedy for it. That remedy…both here and in our Lord’s quotation of the last line (Mt. 11:29), is no rest-cure but a redirection: the blessed relief of stepping out along the right way. Jesus interprets this in personal terms of walking with him as his working partners (‘my yoke upon you’) and his pupils (‘learn from me’). ~The Message of Jeremiah, p. 46, emphasis mine
We find relief from the weariness of sin when we walk with God as his servants and his students. We find rest for our souls when we take a step of repentance for our laziness or anger, our anxiety or our judging and trust in the forgiveness that comes only through the atoning death of Jesus Christ.
So what good and ancient road of obedience do we need to take a step down today?
Let’s walk to get some rest.