I Am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.
He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light.
Surely against me is he turned; he turneth his hand against me all the day.
My flesh and my skin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones.
He hath builded against me, and compassed me with gall and travail.
He hath set me in dark places, as they that be dead of old.
He hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out: he hath made my chain heavy.
Waters flowed over mine head; then I said, I am cut off.
I called upon thy name, O Lord, out of the low dungeon.
Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry.
More times than not, the things that weigh us down are complex issues and difficulties in life. A simple comment from a friend or family member to “smile” doesn’t usually meet the complexities we face. We need something more, something deeper to meet the need we have.
Jeremiah was no stranger to being overwhelmed. He knew what it was like to have a weary soul. It seemed it was God’s purpose for him. He was a prophet who spoke God’s message to God’s people, and he also had to watch as the consequences of their rebellion and idolatry came into full effect. Along with the book of Jeremiah, he wrote the book of Lamentations. To lament is to deeply mourn. It is an outward expression of grief and sorrow.
The book certainly portrays that, if you haven’t read it, you need to.
Surely, you, like me, have felt that it all is just too much. There are days, or moments, when we all feel the weight of everything at us at once, and it is easy to lose focus on the things that we truly love about life and God, and what He wants for us.
Look at Matthew chapter 11:28-30 with me.
28 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.
Before we jump into this passage more, we need to understand context. He is speaking directly to people who’s lives were burdened and weighed down by the do’s and don’t of the law that was placed on their backs as yokes by the Pharisees. The legalism of the LAW is exhausting!
Jesus says, this isn’t how you have to live.
They were exhausted and beaten down by structures of the life they were living, and they weren’t doing anything wrong! The things they were doing were not wrong in and of themselves. Many times the things that break us down are not wrong things! They are good things. Taking care of our families, working hard to earn money so we can pay bills and provide and support ministry. These are good things. But we often fall into a place of weariness and we need rest.
This passage seeks to remind us of what the faith of Christianity is all about, a personal relationship with our Savior.
This wonderful passage gives us four main words to focus on: COME, TAKE. LEARN, REST
Jesus doesn’t offer us a book to read or “Six Steps to Find Rest.” These types of suggestions are what we generally look for in our world when we don’t know where to turn. He offers a very simple opportunity: “Come unto me…”.
We come to Jesus because there is no one else and no where else that can deliver what we so desperately need: HOPE
Jesus knows, and He wants us to know, that He is the only answer to the fear and weight that we endure in life. He invites us to come to Him because He is the only one who can give true rest. We recognize this, but we still find ourselves going to other people or things for rest. He promises rest if we come to Him, and He never goes back on His Word.
We invite us to come to HIM alone, and to take His yoke upon us, while giving up the one we have been trying to carry on our own.
Yoke was a common word for the teachings of a Jewish Rabbi. The yoke was how the teacher interpreted the Old Testament and therefore taught his disciples how to understand God and therefore life.
There is a decision implied here. It doesn’t just happen if you go to church, or serve in a ministry. Jesus shows us what truth is, He embodies it. He shows us who God is, which shows us what life is and what it is all about.
There is so much to learn from Jesus. When Jesus went through difficult trials and tests and temptations what did He do?
He always prayed. Always.
He also allowed the Word of God to be forefront in His mind and heart. He literally used the Words of God to defend Himself against attack, and encourage His own soul, and He allowed what God said to replace the exhaustion in His own life. When He was overwhelmed, He allowed the Word to take refresh Him.
Did Jesus “have” to do that? No. At any moment He could reclaimed the power and rights that He willingly laid down.
He did it to teach us. We need to be better students, and learn from Him.
When you are weary and you seek rest, and we all do, move away from the complexities of what exhaust you and come to Jesus. He invites you, and that is an amazing thought. Many things promise rest from weariness, but they always seem to leave us wanting.
Have you ever been exhausted and decided to take a nap but when you wake up from the nap you are more tired than before?
Sometimes our souls are exhausted, and we seek rest in things that don‘t actually bring rest.
It is only found in Christ.
There is rest to be found. It is the renewing of our own minds and souls through our personal relationship with our Savior and in community with Him, through prayer and the Word of God.