Sunday Considerations: The Soul Needs Spiritual Rest

The soul needs spiritual rest: “The shadow of a great rock” in this “weary land.” It has tried many plans of worldly greatness — and found them vain! It has traversed many ways of promised pleasure — and found them painful! It has sought out many inventions to hold it up in the day of its prosperity — and found them “miserable comforters all.”

It is the peculiar office of the Holy Spirit, to cause men to perceive the weariness and burdensomeness of sin. For so accustomed are we to sin, so infatuated with it, so blinded by nature to its evils and its sorrows — that unless made to see it with a spiritual vision imparted by the Holy Spirit — we would never feel our real wretchedness and our intolerable burden. But when we do begin to feel and acknowledge this — then do we eagerly seek for true relief and rest.

To all such, Christ is revealed as “the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” He gives rest to the soul . . .
by pardoning the sins which so weigh it down;
by removing the curse which we so justly deserve, and
by imparting new life to the fainting spirit.

And when our sins are forgiven, and the penalty of death removed, and the spirit of Christ infused into us — then, of course, there will be such a sense of relief and comfort as the traveler experiences who comes, after long hours of travel over a burning sandy waste — to “the shadow of a great rock,” and in its refreshing coolness finds the desired rest.

Such is the gracious aspect in which Christ manifests himself to his believing people:
a refuge from the wind of adversity,
a covert from the storm of divine anger,
a source of unfailing refreshment to the hungry and thirsting pilgrim,
and a secure and blessed rest to the sin-weary and guilt-laden soul.

Sadly, then, are they deceiving themselves, who refuse the offered grace of Jesus Christ. And why do they refuse? Because they dare not rise above the fear of man; and, in face of the taunts and jeers of so-called friends, go to Jesus. Or because they are so pleased with their own garments of self-righteousness — that they will not put on the offered robe of Christ’s righteousness. Or because the pride of their heart is so great that they will not humble themselves upon their knees and confess that they are great and hell-deserving sinners in the sight of God, and are willing to receive salvation as the free gift of sovereign grace, “without money and without price.”

And will you for these reasons . . .
reject the Savior?
lose Heaven?
ruin your soul?

Look at them! Will they bear examination? Hold them up in the light of eternity, and with the fearful realities of the future unfolded before you — how do they look there?

Utter them at the bar of God, and tell him who “sits on the great white throne,” surrounded by angels, and with the book of judgment open before him — tell him, and tell it out so loud that all the universe can hear: “I rejected you, O Christ, as my ‘refuge!’ I refused you as ‘a covert!’ I turned away from you ‘as rivers of water!’ I sought you not as the ‘shadow of a great rock in that weary land!’ And all . . .
because I feared what man should do unto me;
because I could not brook the ridicule of my fellows;
because I was so engrossed in buying and selling and getting gain;
because I was so delighted with my own morality;
because I was too proud to bend the knee to you, O Christ!”

How will such excuses sound at the Judgment Seat of Christ?

Yet at that Judgment Seat — you must stand; before that rejected Savior — you must bow! And as you cannot stand acquitted there except through faith in him, as you cannot meet him in peace except through the salvation of his own providing — so let me urge you, pilgrim to eternity, traveler through this weary and stormy land . . .
to seek this only “hiding place from the wind;”
to flee to this only “covert from the storm” of wrath;
to drink only at these “rivers of water” in the dry places of earth,
and to sit down only beneath this “shadow of a great rock” in this weary land of earth — yielding with a glad mind and heart to the invitation of Jesus, “Come unto me, all you who are weary and heavy laden — and I will give you rest!” Yes, “rest!” Rest to your souls, rest on earth, rest in Heaven — a rest that will never end!
~Excerpt from Refuge, Refreshment, and Rest in Christ! by William Bacon Stevens (1815—1887)

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