REST – Part 2

I wonder if you have ever noticed that no biblical poet or prophet sets the thought of God’s greatness over against the thought of man’s littleness in order to make man feel insignificant and of no consequence. On the contrary, all the great biblical writers set the thought of God’s greatness over against the need of man. They magnify God not to make man feel small, but to make man feel that the resources of this mighty Being are at his disposal. We are not to argue, “If he is so great, I must be of no account at all,” but rather, “How great he is, and therefore how able to take care of me and look after my interests.”

…in Psalm 8, which might seem to dispute my claim: The psalmist says: “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him! and the son of man that thou visitest him?” But don’t stop there! For the poet goes on to say: “Thou hast made him a little lower than God”–in the original we have the word God (elohim), not angels–“and hast crowned him with glory and honor… Thou hast put all things under his feet.” In other words, the poet is rejoicing in the glory of God in order that he may rest the minds of men in God’s infinity.

And remember that when the psalmist cries out, as he so often does, “O magnify the Lord,” he does not mean, “Let us tell God what a wonderful person he is, and let us in our insignificance crawl at his feet.” He means, “Let us realize how big God is and how adequate for all our needs, and let us rest our minds and hearts, our worries, our concern for our loved ones, our whole nation’s troubles, on his breast.”

Let us magnify the Lord together! Let us have a great God… For all science and all poetry and all music and all drama are but revelations of his nature and his ways with men. Our God, vast and infinite, stands behind them all, greater than man’s power to imagine, better than man’s loveliest thoughts.

– So you can relax your body
and hush your mind
and quiet your heart
and rest
in the infinity of God.

When you pray, God gives himself in loving attention to you as if you were the only person in the universe.

Our only mental rest is in the infinity of God, with whom is no detail, no chance, no unimportant event, no past, no present, no future. All exist in his life, which, being infinite, is beyond our comprehension.

Do you realize that when you know a person you are content to wait for an explanation of the things he does and allows? “He who hath heard the Word of God,” said Ignatius, “can bear his silences.”

We cannot comprehend the infinity of God. God will always be beyond the compass of our little, finite minds, and he will both do and allow things that puzzle, bewilder, and affright us; but, although we don’t know much about God, we know God in Jesus and, knowing, can rest our minds in his infinity.

“Behold I will build me a nest on the greatness of God.”
[from “The Marshes of Glynn”, by Sidney Lanier]

“And I smiled to think God’s greatness flowed around our incompleteness,–
Round our restlessness,
his rest.”
[from “The Rhyme of the Duchess May” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning]

 – Leslie Weatherhead (1893-1976), minister at City Temple, London.
Excerpts from the sermon “Resting in God’s Infinity,” The Significance of Silence, 1945.

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not lack.
He makes me to lie down in pastures of tender grass;
He leads me beside waters of rest.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
 For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
To the end of my days.

Psalm 23
The New King James Bible

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