IN UNION WITH GOD THERE IS REST
BY: KENNETH GREATOREX
There is something in the heart of each of us giving us the desire to worship. The need for communion with God comes from deep within our being. When our direction is off course, we will worship things, nature, gods of wood and stone, or people, whether a leader, a sports team, entertainment personality, or even a “superior” ethnic group. We WILL worship the true and living God, OR a god of some kind, including ourselves.
Paul, when preaching on Mars Hill noted that the Athenians had covered all bases by having an altar with the inscription, “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.” [See: Acts 17:16-32] He introduced God to them, saying: “God who made the world and every thing in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands – since He gives life, breath, and all things.”
The words, “does not dwell in temples made with hands” is something that few of us understand. We look to find God in a building or almost anywhere, instead of realizing that God in Christ has come to live within our hearts. Man was created both to WORSHIP God and to be a TEMPLE of God.
In Genesis 2:15, “the LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and to keep it.” The Hebrew word for “tend” is “abad,” and has the meanings of – to till, serve, dress it, and worship. The man’s job was not just to do the physical work of gardening, BUT to do it as an ACT OF WORSHIP. This should be true in all we do.
In the third chapter of Genesis fellowship with God in the garden was broken. Things changed when man lost the glory of God. [Romans 3:23] This meant that he had to be driven out of God’s garden for his own good. From that time on, until the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, there was no immediate access to the presence of God. Christ is the only way today! Christ is God’s Tree of Life!
We may meet in a building and call it a church, but the true church is where the presence of God is. Stephen quotes King Solomon in Acts 7:48, “the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands,” and adds, “as the prophet says, “Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build for Me? And where is the place of MY REST?”
John in his record of the visions that God gave him, wrote, “Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He dwells with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.” [Rev. 21:3] John was seeing the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God and later he describes it as “the bride, the Lamb’s wife. The language is figurative, in terms that man uses, because man is usually unable to describe spiritual truth, except in human terminology.
Within the New Jerusalem [the bride or body of Christ] we find NO TEMPLE [vs. 22], “for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” This word “temple” is the Greek “naos,” Strong’s #3485, and indicates that inner place of worship, the most holy place. It is only His indwelling Spirit that enables us to give TRUE WORSHIP. This worship in spirit and truth is what our Father seeks.
Psalm 132 tells of David’s desire to find a place for the presence of God to rest. After recovering the missing “Ark of the Covenant,” he wanted more than to have it in a tent, even though the presence of God was rich and the praise and worship was in a magnitude unknown before. His desire for a permanent building was left to Solomon, who wisely understood that God couldn’t be contained within man made walls. Strangely, many today think that we can contain God within our walls.
“For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation: This is My resting place forever; here will I dwell, for I have desired it.” [Psalm 132:13-14] God does not desire to dwell on a piece of real estate, even though His name was once associated with a hill in old Jerusalem where kings ruled and edifices were constructed for Him, but were really places for man to meet with Him.
The temporary becomes reality when we read the word of Hebrews 12:22-23. “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, – to the general assembly and church of the firstborn – -“ Paradise lost is restored. Fellowship lost is renewed. Man is to no longer work by the “sweat of his brow” but to enter into rest.
“There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered HIS REST himself also ceased [literally rested] from his works as God did from His.” [Hebrews 4:9-10] Religious man has a problem with this concept. To us it seems to “right” to do something to “earn” God’s rest, peace, joy and forgiveness. That is not how God has designed it from the beginning. The work that we now do is not based upon our carnal efforts but by His grace, His ability and to Him goes all the glory.
In 1963 we sang the following. Let the truth of these words sinks deep into your spirit and may you enter into the rest of God.
In union with God, there is rest that’s complete,
There is peace and there is joy without measure;
In union with God, we may sit at His feet,
And enjoy this wonderful treasure;
He’s coming to us, as our hearts yearn for Him,
And we’re joined in the light of His glory;
The Father is pleased, as with gladness we see,
His likeness brought forth, in this union of love.
IN UNION WITH GOD THERE IS REST [Kenneth Greatorex] 1