George Slater – Resting Places

Psalm 42:5. Why art thou cast down O my soul and why art thou disquieted within me? David wasn’t experiencing deep rest of God. He could hardly understand his own heart. We find help by talking to another. It’s good to have a good talk with ourself sometimes. Why am I disquieted within me? There is a reason for this. Saul must have been disquieted when he thought of faithful David, when he thought of Samuel and Nathan who were faithful ministers, of the new heart he received in the beginning. He had all the help available but he went right through life and failed. He never experienced the resting place of submission to God. He shed tears but didn’t change. He uttered the saddest words in the Bible” “God had departed from me and heareth me no more.” He found no place of repentance, no oasis.


In Psalm 40 David found himself in a pit but he had a different spirit and attitude than Saul. He wanted repentance, reconciliation. In Psalm 51 he found reconciliation through repentance, a resting place in his soul. When we submit to fears we don’t find a resting place. The fear of man. There is no oasis where there is fear. Faith overcomes fear.


Jonah : There is no oasis when we say “I can’t”. Often when I said “I can’t I meant “I won’t”. Here is a sermon in three words “can’t is won’t”. He wasn’t facing up to his responsibility. We don’t read of others being handy to encourage him. He made this decision between Him and God, chose the easy way. By running away he lost the resting place. Chapter 2 God prepared a fish. God does not make it easy for people to go back, does not let them go easily. Israel’s Red Sea experience. He opened the way and made the waters return. It was impossible for them to go back, but it was possible for them to go forward. It’s good to exercise faith and find a resting place for our soul. Jonah brought affliction upon himself and cried unto God. In the fish he would feel his absolute weakness, he couldn’t save himself. God’s word to Paul: “My grace is sufficient, My strength is made strong in weakness.” We like to feel strong. There was a change of spirit in Jonah, he was willing to sacrifice to God. He experienced peace in his soul. God made the impossible possible. When Israel went forth by faith, they had a memorial behind them to glorify God. Jonah, after this experience found a resting place in the Word of God.


Jacob as an old man. Gen. 42 “My son shall not go down to Egypt.” Joseph was a bread-winner through affliction. We can understand how Jacob felt. In verse 10 “Had we not lingered, surely we would have returned the second time.” Often in our experience, we do not want to change. Had we been willing to change we would not have had that experience, famine, it gets worse. I don’t know if Jacob asked: “Why art thou disquieted within me” but there was no peace nor rest in his spirit until a change of spirit came. Verse 11 There was no more the spirit of “my son shall not go” but he was willing that his will be broken, there was a mellowing in his spirit. God wills a mellowing in my spirit. This is something God’s love can do for us before we grow old. It’s easy to exercise our own strong will and remain unchanged. Jacob, not only he, but others were afflicted by famine because of his decision to stay – till he finally realized that there was only one way out that he might live and not die. Saul was not willing but David was willing that he might live and not die. There was great mellowing in Jacob and think of all he enjoyed in Egypt because of that. There was bread and to spare. All along the way we make decisions that will determine whether we’ll have a resting place. Others will have blessing because of decisions we make.


In 1 Samuel we read of Hannah and Elkanah going to Jerusalem to worship and sacrifice. Peninah, her adversary, also went up to worship and sacrifice. Worship always precedes sacrifice. Shiloh means “a place of rest” but it wasn’t a place of rest to neither Hannah nor Peninah. There was no change in Peninah thought they went up there every year. There was no change in Hannah. We may ask “but was there need for change in Hannah?” There was blessing because of change. She didn’t whisper about her affliction. A whisperer separateth friends. Some have itching ears and a wagging tongue always goes with it. Hannah’s loyalty in not being a whisperer. I don’t believe in camps within a camp. Had Hannah been a whisperer she would have done this. It’s good to know when to be a terminus. It’s a noble thing to take our affliction before the Lord. Hannah, in bitterness of spirit prayed to the Lord. A change was taking place. She was having a deeper experience with God, only her lips moved. She was misunderstood by Eli but her prayer was so real, her countenance changed, she was no more sad, she was entering into a deeper experience of sacrifice. I wonder how she felt those first few years going to Shiloh – she wanted justice – that is our natural feelings. But justice could never have done for Hannah what affliction did. Tears don’t always cause us to change. Saul shed tears but it didn’t change him. Change brings tears. Prayer changes circumstances when prayer changes me. Hannah found a resting place, God honouring her prayer by keeping her vows. It led to a song of praise. The oasis found by the altar, a fresh sacrifice. These things may be more for me than for you. God gives us a chance to change in difficult experiences. Instead of a self-willed spirit, a broken spirit, deeper sacrifice. The famine will go, there will be a song where there is sacrifice.