“The Lord hears the
needy, and does not despise His who are prisoners” (Psalm
Do you ever get so TIRED that you just don’t
feel you can go on? You may have taken the right medications, said
the correct prayers, eaten properly, exercised just as you should,
but deep inside, you’re tired! “Tired
o’ livin’, Feared o’ dyin’,” is how the old song went, many
years ago. Sleep doesn’t help like it should. It may be that you
CAN sleep (or not), but somehow, REST eludes you.
Actually, LOTS of people are in that fix right
now. Too much stress, too many things to do, little time to do
them, and a world seemingly filled with criticism, has sapped the
strength of many. Life seems like an emotional hurricane and times
of rest, which were all too few, now seem to have disappeared! What
can be done?
Actually, it’s our need to DO something to
alleviate the stress that is the problem! It’s not that we need to
do more, but that we need to understand, deep inside, that what we
need has already been DONE! We continue to want to solve things,
but our solution is that we instead have to RECEIVE!
David understood this. He was the author of
Psalm 69, and as he tells us in verse 29, that he spent much of his
life “afflicted and in pain.” He
was betrayed by “friends” and enemies alike, knowing intimately what
it was like to suffer emotional pain. But Psalm 69 reflects even
more than David’s personal distress, for this Psalm is widely
regarded as a “Messianic” Psalm. That is, Psalm 69 is not only
about David, but it also reaches through time to the suffering of a
Descendent of King David. In this Psalm, we catch a glimpse of the
cross of Christ and the pain He experienced for you and me.
Here is something of the heart of Christ, as He
bore our sins on the cross: “Reproach has
broken my heart, and I am so sick. And I looked for sympathy, but
there was none, and for comforters, but I found none. They also
gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to
drink” (Psalm 69:20-21).
David not only became King of Israel, but he
was also a “prophet” (Acts 2:29-30). As such, he revealed the
intentions of God to those in this world. As far as it can be seen
in Scripture, David was never offered literal “gall”
or “vinegar” to drink, but his
Descendant (Jesus) was. In Matthew Chapter 27, it is recorded that
just before He was crucified, “They gave
Him wine to drink mingled with gall; and after tasting it, He was
unwilling to drink” (verse 34). Some time later, as He hung
on the cross, “one of them ran, and taking
a sponge, he filled it with sour wine (vinegar),
and put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink”
Jesus hung there surrounded by His enemies,
dying for not only their sins, but also for yours and mine, and
bitterness was added to bitterness, as they gave the King of Glory
vinegar to drink. His situation, from a human perspective, was
infinitely desperate. Indeed, Jesus died right after the vinegar
was offered to Him – “And Jesus cried out
again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit” (Matthew
Note that His life was not taken from Him, but
rather, “He yielded up His spirit.”
He died for our sins, and when your sins and mine, your suffering
and mine, were dealt with – He left this place of pain!
Immediately after His death, the veil of the
Temple was torn from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51), there was a
severe earthquake, tombs were opened, and many saints who had
previously died, were raised to life (verse 52-53). Astonishing
events were taking place which authenticate the divinity of Jesus
Christ, and the REST He offers you and me.
The Centurion (leader of 100 Roman soldiers)
who was in charge of the crucifixion of Jesus, had seen many die.
He no doubt was a “specialist” in the area of crucifixions and had
ordered the nailing of many hands and feet to wooden crosses; but
this One was different. “The Centurion and
those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the
earthquake and the things that were happening, became very
frightened and said, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!” (verse
54). More than “was,” for the
Centurion did not yet understand the resurrection that was to come -
Indeed Jesus IS the Son of God, as proved by the empty tomb just
three days later, and His visits to many after that time (see 1
Corinthians Chapter 15).
Remember how TIRED you get sometimes? Think
about the WEARINESS that so often has filled your soul. Down
inside, you know that life is not supposed to be this way. God
understands your need for He says to you and me: “Come
to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest”
(Matthew 11:28). Or as David said (the one who often needed the
rest of God): “The Lord HEARS the needy,
and does not despise His who are prisoners” (Psalm 69:33).
Sometimes, we recognize that we are needy. It
isn’t just homeless people out on the sidewalk who are displaced and
alone – It’s you and me. Sometimes we feel like prisoners,
discovering that we are trapped by the circumstances of life, not
all that different from those who are held in a penitentiary.
Someone gave me a CD Rom about prison ministry,
entitled “Both Sides of the Wall,”
which would be interesting, except that when I attempted to open the
CD, my computer said it was “blank” – there was no information on
that CD at all! Like that CD, life seems to hold no answers for
us. Except there is an Answer and His Name is Jesus Christ!
George Mattheson understood this, and wrote a
hymn in 1882 which contained the words, “O
Love, that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee.”
Centuries ago, Augustine of Hippo said, “You
have created us for Yourself, and our heart cannot be stilled until
it finds rest in You.” Mattheson and Augustine understood
Jesus’ words: “I will give you rest.”
He offers REST for you and me.
Lord, we are tired and need Your rest. Please
comfort us and let us understand, let us RECEIVE the peace offered
in Christ. In Jesus Name. Amen.