Up in the North woods of Wisconsin, life is a little more simple than in the hustle and bustle suburbs. The sky is so blue, the trees are so green and sunlight just loves to dance through through the leaves as they move in the breeze.
In Genesis, the great men and families of God had places of rest, places like Beersheba, Bethel, and initially the garden of Eden. These were places of serenity because these men were able to enter God’s rest because of what He revealed to them. Wherever God is is a place of rest.
Throughout Genesis, the topic of migration comes up several times with the patriarchs. Abraham went to Egypt due to a famine. Egypt was not the promised land God spoke to Abraham about. Isaac was also faced with a famine and God told him not to go to Egypt and he prospered. Jacob asked God whether he should join Joseph in Egypt during another famine and God gave him the nod and they ended up settling down in Goshen for quite a while. Israel’s families prospered there for a while.
Places are a temporary provision of God at various times. Goshen was ideal. The Israelites were shepherds, they needed ample fertile land for their livestock. Goshen provided that. It is located on the Northeastern side of the Nile. The Nile river flowed northward into the Mediterranean Sea. It provided a rich delta at its outlet. Egyptians looked down on the shepherding profession so by camping out in Goshen, the two cultures were kept separate. There had been problems with this in Canaan as some of the children of the patriarchs took Canaanite wives. The rich heritage of Israel was preserved living there.
Goshen was located closer to the land God promised the Israelites than any other part of Egypt. Egypt afforded the new young Israelite nation protection against marauding kings of other lands. God’s promise to Jacob that He would make them a great nation could bud into fruition.
“Location, location, location” is not an absolute. Eventually, things changed in Egypt and there came a time to exit. God has no specific place, but He can utilize geography to bless His people at various times.
For us today, we have truly entered into his rest when we we accept His grace. In Acts 7:49-50 it is recorded:
Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things?
One can be in the midst of hustle and bustle and be in God’s rest. It can also be said that quiet and stillness can be restful, but it can cause unrest too.
Hebrews 4:9-12 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
It seems like a contradiction to read ‘hath ceased from his own works’ and ‘Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest’ but when the Word of God is read and worked by a spiritually-minded person, rest is the result even if you are in the middle of a busy life. God is the place of our rest wherever we are.