Bible Reading: Micah 4:1-5, Colossians 3:1-17
There are few better images of rest and being worry-free than of a person napping in the shade of a tree. Can you imagine propping up against a tree, finding that comfortable spot, and feeling the coolness of the shade, you fall asleep. Even imagining it gives us a sigh of relief and peace. But then we open our eyes, and we are back to reality. What if this kind of rest was real? What if it was possible to experience such peace, and have it last? This is an image Scripture gives us of the rest God has for His people.
In Micah 4:1-5, we read about the latter days, meaning the time when God’s kingdom has come to earth as it is in heaven. In those days, all the nations will be turned away from worthless idols, and their focus will be on the Lord Almighty. They will seek Him for wisdom and guidance, and they will no longer war among themselves. Their useless weapons of war will be reshaped into farming utensils. Peace is throughout the world, and there is nobody preparing for a war of any kind. I love the promise of verse four, which says, “but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid.” Living in the eternal kingdom of God will be so peaceful, that we will be able to sit under the shade of the fig tree, and we will not fear harm coming from any direction; the perfect peace of God will fill the earth.
Such a beautiful promise, but it is almost too wonderful to imagine. We live in a day of division and hatred, with wars and rumors of wars. There are threats from the other side of the globe, and just down the street. How can Christians begin to rest in the shade of God’s peace in the midst of a world of sin and chaos?
In Colossians 3, Paul is reminding believers to put on the, “new self.” They have been made into a new creation through Jesus Christ, and their old way of life is dead. They no longer live in sin, doing things that displeased God and separated themselves from Him. Now, their life is, “hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). Knowing that we are in God, and that God’s Spirit is within us, we can have confidence that we will live with Him in a glorious eternity. God’s promises have become ours, just as we have become His. Even still, how do these promises encourage us to have peace in our hearts? How can the hope we have through Jesus Christ enable us to rest in the shade of God?
“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:15-17
Call to Action: Colossians 3:15-17 gives us solid instructions for how to rest in the shade of God’s promises:
- Be thankful. Thank God for the salvation He has given you, the freedom from sin, and also being adopted into the family of God (the one body).
- Let the Word dwell richly within you. God’s promises cannot comfort you if you do not know them. God wrote a book for us that reveals Him to us. Take time to read it every day. Remember it, and remind yourself of it often.
- Teach and Admonish. Not only should you be reading the Bible, but you should be talking about it. Discuss it with your family, your church family, your coworkers. Encourage each other with God’s promises and, if needed, correct someone with God’s truth.
- Sing Songs of Worship. Worship God through music. Sing in the car, in your home, in church, and everywhere you go!
- DO everything for the glory of His name. Keep your heart and mind so connected to God, that every word you speak and everything you do will be geared towards honoring Him.
May God fill you with His peace as you immerse yourself in Him. May you find rest for your soul, until that glorious day when we will sit in the shade of the tree of God.
Rev. Larkin Sumerlin