Spirit of Grace Ministries
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A Secure Place


By Dennis Pollock

Every human being on earth has the need and desire for security. We must have a place to live, a continual supply of food day by day, a roof to keep us dry when it rains, a source of heat to keep us warm when the cold winds blow, a place where we can shut and lock our doors to keep out evil men who would do us harm, and the income to be able to maintain this secure place for months and years. We are not like cows who can sleep in the fields and never seem to worry or birds who make their homes in the trees without any undue concern. This need is inherent among all peoples and in all cultures. Whether a mud hut or a bamboo shack or a two-story brick house or a mansion, it is deep in the human heart to find shelter and security in this otherwise uncertain and dangerous world.

In the book of Ruth, we read of a lady named Naomi who lost all her security after she and her family moved to the land of Moab. There had been a drought in the land of Israel, and so she and her husband, along with their two sons, moved to Moab. Shortly after moving there her husband died, and within the space of ten years both of her sons had died. She was left a widow without children, which was about the worst possible economic situation for a woman in those days. When she decided to move back to her homeland of Israel, Ruth, the widow of one her sons, loved her mother-in-law so much she determined to move back with her, even though she was from Moab and would clearly be considered an alien in Israel. These two widows, one older and one younger, were a pitiful couple. Neither had the skills or the strength to make much of a living, and they lived in Israel in poverty, with Ruth going out to glean grain in the fields, picking up leftover grain once the harvesters had gone through the crops, harvesting all that they could.

When Naomi learned from Ruth that she had been harvesting in the fields of a man named Boaz, she took hope. This man was a wealthy relative, and she wondered if there was not a way to entice him to marry the hapless Ruth. The Bible tells us that she said to Ruth: My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you?” The word translated security” in the NJKV is also sometimes translated as rest, which is the more literal meaning of the Hebrew word. However, the word rest was often used in connection with the idea of security. She was telling Ruth that she had a plan to provide her young daughter-in-law with a place of safety, abundance, and security. She went on to suggest a plan whereby Ruth could make it clear to Boaz that she was willing and available to marry him.

It was a bold and unorthodox step she advocated, but in Naomi s mind, desperate times called for desperate actions. She and Ruth were alone, without any man to provide for them, and badly in need of the necessities of life. If Ruth could somehow persuade Boaz to marry her, all of this would change for the better in an instant. Ruth obediently followed her mother-in-law s advice, and it worked out precisely as Naomi had hoped it would. Boaz did indeed marry Ruth, and the situation for both these ladies went from dismal to prosperous. Ruth found the security, the rest,” and the safety that she needed so desperately. It may not have been the most romantic of courtships; there was hardly any courtship at all. But Ruth found rest, and Boaz proved a responsible husband. In fact, their great-grandson was King David, from whose genealogy a young lady named Mary came many centuries later, who gave birth to the Messiah of Israel, Jesus Christ.

We Need Rest

But Ruth is not the only person in history badly in need of security and rest. The truth is, we are all in need of this. And God is not unaware of this fundamental human need. He provides freely for His children situations of rest and security. It usually involves a house to live in, food to eat, and the income necessary to maintain these.

For nearly all of us, our parents provided us this rest when we were children. The first house I can remember was a small, two-bedroom house in a St. Louis suburb. This was the first house my parents had ever owned, and it was modest to say the least. It was my home from the age of around three until the age of twelve. The living room was small, and there was no real dining room. We ate at a table set up in the kitchen. If I remember correctly, my parents bought this house for around $7,000, and made the payments on their mortgage every month.

As a growing boy, I never thought about the fact that most Americans lived in houses quite a bit nicer and more spacious than ours. I just knew that this was home. The roof kept the rain off our heads, and when the storms raged outside, we were dry. In those snowy St. Louis winters the little heater kept our house warm and we were never cold. We didn t have air-conditioning in those days, but there was an attic fan which sucked up the hot air and replaced it with cooler air coming from the outside. This didn t do much in the heat of the day, but in the evenings, it was a relief. In this house we ate our meals, watched TV, and my sister and I played and argued and slept comfortably. It was home; it was our place of rest. We never worried about the money to pay the monthly mortgage payments. That was Dad s business (Mom did not work in those days, as was customary), and Dad never failed us. We never feared or even thought about being homeless.

What I am describing is true for most children all over the world, from creation until now. The details would vary, but most children grew up with a home or apartment which was their secure place. They had rest, there was a warm, dry home and a family to which they belonged. But childhood gives way to adulthood, and then we find ourselves needing to provide this security for our own families.

MosesPlaces of Rest

The story of Moses reveals two places of rest which the great prophet experienced in the first eighty years of his life. When he was born, little boys were being slaughtered by order of the King of Egypt. His mother, eager to save her beautiful little boy, put him in a basket and set it in the water by the river, where nobles would bathe in the mornings. Pharaoh s daughter came along, found the little baby, and took him as her own. Moses grew up in a place of great privilege. He had the best food, the best education, and the best housing Egypt could provide. For the first forty years of his life, he lived royally, as a wealthy and powerful young man. But at the age of forty God had other plans for him. Moses must be de-programmed from the customs and ways of Egypt and learn the ways of God. And so, after an incident which involved him killing an Egyptian for beating an Israelite, Moses was forced to flee for his life.

His rest,” his secure place was stripped from him and for a short while he was homeless. He walked a great distance, far from Egypt, and came to the land of Moab. There he met a wealthy man who took a liking to him and invited him to stay with their family and work for him. Moses agreed and thereby discovered a new and radically different place of rest and security. He lived a simple life as a shepherd. He married his boss wife, and set up a home in Moab, which proved to be his dwelling for the next forty years.

And this brings us to an important point about the various places of rest God provides us – they nearly all have an expiration date! When the prophet Elijah was being sought by the king of Israel who wanted him dead, God provided a place for him near a stream and instructed ravens to bring food to him every day. Everything went along fine for a while, but the Bible tells us:

And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” (1 Kings 17:7-9).

The Old Place Has Expired

What had worked beautifully for Elijah as a hidden, secure place was no longer working. The water had dried up and God told His servant about a new place of rest” where he would be taken care of and his needs met. It was in the house of a foreign lady, a widow who was herself about to die from the drought that covered the land. Elijah obediently went where he was told, God provided a miracle that kept her, her son, and Elijah alive, and they lived through the famine comfortably.

In most of our lives, God will provide us secure places, and then later withdraw that blessing and lift His grace from it. He does this not to punish us but because He has new lessons for us to learn, new challenges to stretch and grow our faith, and new opportunities for us that would never have happened had we stayed in our present comfort zone any longer. Throughout my adulthood I have been in several different ministry positions. From the age of 40 through 52, I worked for a radio and television ministry called Lamb & Lion Ministries. This ministry was led by Dr. David Reagan and I served as his assistant. In this position I was blessed with a comfortable salary, the opportunity to teach the Bible and win souls to Christ, and minister in churches throughout the United States. With five children to raise and launch into adulthood, at that particular time period of my life, receiving a regular salary was more than welcome. We bought a beautiful house and lived happily there. These were very good years in my life.

But there came a time when it became apparent that it was time for me to leave this position and strike out in a ministry of my own. As I launched my new ministry it was scary and everything was new: leading a ministry rather than assisting, putting together and engaging in African missions, and trying to make ends meet with the money that was coming in. For a while I was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I never really doubted that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. When I had entered my time with Lamb & Lion, that position had an expiration date. I didn t know what that date was, of course, but when it expired, I knew. God was moving me to a new place of rest, and to resist His call and His leading would have been most foolish. I did not resist it, and in the end, I found more fulfillment and more fruitfulness than I ever experienced previously. As always, God always knows best.

But these kinds of places, jobs, careers, houses, and geographical locations are not our real rest. The Bible tells us: He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1). Jesus Christ Himself is our ultimate rest. He is our Security; He is our Place of peace and safety and abundance. What Ruth found in Boaz long ago, we find in Jesus Christ today. He says to all: Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mat 11:28). Far better than any job, any house, any husband or wife, or any ministry position, Jesus is our guarantee of security, safety, fruitfulness, and abundance, both in this life and in the life to come. He died on a cross and rose from the dead three days later in order to grant us the amazing privilege of finding our rest in Him. And with Jesus, there is no expiration date!



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