I spent most of my middle school and high school days listening to 60s and 70s rock. The Beatles turned my musical world upside down when I was in 8th grade. Among those Beatles’ songs, the one I still love more than all the others is, “I’m So Tired.” The lyrics are ripe with emotional honesty: “I’m so tired, I haven’t slept a wink; I’m so tired, my mind is on the blink. I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink. No, no, no.”
That song is the cry of the human heart, which Augustine spoke of when he prayed to the Lord, “The heart is restless until it finds rest with Thee.” It is a cry that I have experienced many times both before and after coming to Christ. It is a cry that is common to the longing hearts of sinful men and women in this fallen world.
Thankfully, our cry is heard. The story of Scripture is the story of God bringing those who will trust Him to a place of spiritual rest through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Throughout Isaiah’s prophecy we discover symbolism drawn out of the account of the Exodus, the wilderness wandering, and the conquest of Canaan. The way in which the Lord dealt with His people in that first great act of redemption is a picture of the way He promises to deal with His people in Christ.
Isaiah 63:7-14 highlights this. The first generation of Israel knew the burdens of being oppressed and afflicted. They knew the burden of being far from the Lord as well. Now, the Lord was reminding His people, so long after the Exodus, of how He was with their ancestors, bearing their affliction and to leading them to a place of rest. The reason He reminded them of that first great act of redemption was to stir in them the desire for the greater redemption and rest He promised to provide through the work of the Suffering Savior (Isaiah 52:13-53:12; 63:1-6).
John Bunyan gives us a magnificent picture of how God provides rest for the souls of His people from the guilt, corruption, power, and shame of our sin. He envisions a man with a heavy burden on his back. Once this man makes it to the foot of the cross, the burden rolls off of his back and into the empty tomb. He cries out in joyful gratitude, “He has given me rest by His sorrow and life by His death!”
Because Jesus cried out “It is finished,” we can be confident that He is able to give us the rest our souls so desperately need. Even now, Jesus is calling us to come to Him and find rest for our souls (Matthew 11:28-30). Have you? Will you?
Written by Nick Batzig