Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Looking in Hope for Rest

28When Lamech had lived 182 years, he fathered a son 29and called his name Noah, saying, "Out of the ground that the LORD has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands." - Genesis 5:28-29

Lamech looked in hope upon his son as the promised seed through whom the people belonging to God would find rest. Noah was the sons name meaning rest. The whole of creation had been subjected to the futility of the fall of our first parents Adam and Eve. The sin of the first man Adam brought sin and death to all men and the creation in which man lived was subjected to the futility of sin and death (Rom.8:20). Yet Lamech was and the creation is groaning for the seed of the woman to come and bring the earth and her people into a rest from sin and death, misery and destruction. In the garden there were the words of judgment and hope that given down to Lamech enabled him to believe this way. While Satan was being cursed in the garden it was promised to Adam and Eve and threatened to Satan that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the seed of the serpent (Gen.3:15). This meant rest. Rest was promised in the life that the seed of the woman would bring as he put the prince of death under his feet. It is this rest that Lamech sought through his son Noah.

Noah was a type of Christ to bring rest to his family for through his line would come the one to give final rest. God saved Noah and his family in the midst of the great flood while all those on the face of the earth were destroyed. But through this sovereign judgment and grace he was working toward the rest for his people that Lamech longed for. Noah was not the final rest but he was one through whom God brought the rest closer and through whom the rest was promised. He and his family rested in the mercies of God upon the ark and when the waters were dried up they rested in his covenant love to them in reestablishing them in the earth with promise. Noah and his family died living in the creation that was exercised to the futility of the fall. Yet Noah lived and died by faith and “became an heir of righteousness that comes by faith.” (Heb.11:7). Noah was given rest by the grace and favor of God and the grace and favor of God that lead to his rest was realized through the fear of God and striving in faith through the grace of God.

Christ has come and he is the rest that Lamech looked for in his own son. His work is not finished. Though his earthly work is done, he continues to labor night and day for his peoples rest as he speaks to us, intercedes for us and rules over us from his session at the right hand of God the Father. There is coming a day when the rest will be complete in Christ. But while he is the rest for his church and we can come to him to find rest (Mt.11:28-30) we must strive to enter his rest through fear, repentance and faithful obedience through his means of grace each day and each week (Heb.4:11-16). The rest the world offers is shadowy, temporal and deceiving. The rest the Son of Man offers in his presence is real, abiding and guaranteed.

Lamech named his son in hope of rest for himself and others. But that son had to be fed, nurtured, taught and labored over and with. Christ is the Son of God who is named for ours and others rest. And when we are named in him as the children of God (Jn.1:12) we have a rest from sin and death. Yet there remains a rest for us to enter in him (Heb.4:9). We have to be fed, nurtured, taught, labored over and with by him that we may enter his rest. His grace is given that we may enter his rest by faith and that faith works through love that others for who he has and does labor may enter his rest. It is time to rest in Christ and it is time to strive to enter the rest promised us in Christ. Lamech received grace to look in hope for rest through his son and in that grace he named and nurtured. Noah received grace for his rest in the salvation of God and in that grace he preached, built and obeyed that others might come with him into the rest he received by grace. Let us strive that we and others may enter his rest.

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