Used & Posted, January 17, 1999
Isaiah 11:10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
This prophecy is a major prophecy concerning Christ. I am going to deal with this passage in reverse order. The first part prophecies of an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek. This clearly speaks of the coming of Christ, and the drawing of sinners to himself.
John 12:32, And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 33 This he said, signifying what death he should die. (All men here cannot mean all men, for not all men are nor will all men be saved. It must, therefore, speak of all of the elect, Isa. 53.)
The second part prophecies that his rest shall be glorious. This is the section I want to deal with first. (I have an overabundance of Scriptures to support what I am saying, but I will not give them to you unless you ask for them.) Lord willing, we will come back to the ensign of the people latter.
The prophecy of Christ could not be more distinct. And his rest shall be glorious. Paul quotes the prophecy a little differently than it is given, adding that Christ shall rise to reign over the Gentiles.
Romans 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: 9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. 10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. 11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. 12 And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.
Christ explains what the Prophetmeant:
Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and 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.
Labour and heavy laden...
Labouring under the burden of sins and the distresses of life --- sorrows, worry, grief, distress of all kinds.
This includes labouring to meet the demands of the gods of this world. The gods of this world are gods of covetousness --- they demand that we have bigger and better all the time.
The gods of this world demand we conform to those around us, even though those people are pagans.
The gods of this world demand that we do our own thing, and go our own way, and have a good time, though our own way leads to destruction. (Pr. 14:12, 16:15.)
The gods of this world demand that we fit in, kind of unnoticed among the pagans; they demand that we do not do anything that might challenge pagan authority. Don't rock the boat even thought the wicked control the boat.
I will give you rest.
First, rest is not physical "rest" as we think of rest. Rest does not mean we become a couch potato in front of the TV. Rest is not vacation time nor retirement.
I must admit that the last couple weeks have been "restful." We were snowed in, and we were grounded by not having a car for a few days. I have taken more time off since the first of the year than I have had since I was laid off one winter while working in construction (the first season I worked at the fill for Eagle Creek Dam). And I could only take that winter "VACATION" so long, and I answered an add for a land developer in Carmel. I then finished out the winter working for him.
Rest is not freedom from hard work and from our Christian responsibilities. It is not escape from responsibilities and from the turmoil of the world around us.
Second, rest is a spiritual rest, an inner peace and quiet. It is rest unto your souls.
For those who heard Christ speak, it meant rest from the heavy burdens of the ordinances of Mosaic law, its rites, rituals, ordinances and sacrifices. It was rest from all those burdensome things required by Moses that pointed to Christ. (Col. 2:14). It meant rest from the heavy burdens of the religious traditions of their day. (Mat. 23:1-12.)
He did not mean rest from having to do the those things pleasing in his sight as outlined in the Ten Commandments. (1 Jn. 3:22, And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.)
God's grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament saints did not have God's grace, the indwelling Spirit. The indwelling Spirit today gives God's people a new attitude toward those things that please him. Conversion includes converting our attitudes toward God. Conversion means that God's people enjoy doing those things that please the Lord. The same thiings that were burdensome before conversion are now a joy. That is CONVERSION.
Conversion means rest from the burden of HAVING to do those things pleasing to the Father.
Conversion means WANTING to do those things, and ENJOYING doing those things.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart...
Learn of me, that is, learn the same humble and submissiveness as Christ had:
Hebrews 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
Learning of him normally comes from the school of hard knocks. Peace comes from submitting to God's loving providence in that school as we work to do what pleases him.
And ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Christ's promised rest requires taking his yoke and burden upon ourselves.
YOKE. Why is a yoke, or collar, placed on a horse? So he will be controlled for disciplined work for the owner. A yoke attaches the animal to the work. The yoke does not change the ownership, and at rest, the animal does ware a yoke. So Christ is here saying that if we want his peace, we must be willing to submit to controlled, disciplined work for him.
BURDEN, as obligations and responsibilities Christ places upon his followers. A burden is something that is difficult, or something that is a chore.
There is a difference between Christ's yoke and burden and the yoke and burden of the flesh (including religion without Christ). That difference is GOD'S GRACE. His grace is given so his people can bear Christ's yoke and burden. His grace makes the yoke and burden easy and light. In fact, God's enabling grace makes doing those things that are pleasing in his sight a pleasure and joy. (Phlip. 2:13, Jn. 14:15, Jn. 3:20-24.)
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. The context of Philippians requires that all things are only those things that are pleasing in his sight.
God only provides his grace to do those things pleasing to him. When we try to take on yokes and burdens apart from what is pleasing to the Lord for us, we must bear them in the might of the flesh, a very strenuous and vain effort. (Heb. 4:16.)
When we find we are involved in burdensome chores, we need to check and see if those things fit within the things that are pleasing in his sight.
The Prophet Isaiah promised that Christ's rest would be glorious.
Rest from the servitude to the world, flesh and the devil.
Rest from the guilt of sin, and the physical (spiritual or religious) activity required by the flesh to please God.
Rest from the traditions of our fathers -- that is, those things taught to us and "inherited" from our upbringing that are not according to Christ. (1 Pet. 1:18.)
Rest from any works of righteous for peace with the heavenly Father. (Titus 3:5.)
Rest from trying to do things in our own might and strength.
Rest for the soul comes from justification before God the Father by faith in Christ; rest comes when his righteousness is credited to us. Rest is full atonement of sin by his sacrifice. Rest is eternal rest in the mansions he has gone to prepare for his people.
Rest comes from taking his yoke upon us, and learning of him.
(Hebrews 4 gives a more thorough theological describes the prophesied rest.)