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Katapausis: The Place of Canaan-Rest

Hello friends! Thanks so much for following along in this word study on rest! I know it’s been a little slow going, and hopefully it’s given you time to chew on the different types of rest that God describes. The bask in it and not run along to the next thing. To truly rest in His rest.

I planned the study this month, and it coincided with a trip to the Colorado mountains to celebrate our anniversary. Where I truly rested. And didn’t do one lick of work. We slept in. And watched movies. And took a few runs down the mountain. And did a whole lot of this:


While we were in Colorado, I studied the next word in our rest lineup. If you’re subscribed to our newsletter, you’ll remember that there is a tie for the most commonly used Greek word. In that email, we explored anapauō. Today, we’re going to take a peek at other tied-for-first-Greek-word:


Did you catch the part of speech that’s indicated? It’s a noun. Not a verb. It’s not the action of rest. It’s the place of rest. A literal resting place.

The definition is interesting, because the first description that’s given is actively putting to rest. A calming of the winds. And the doubts. And the chaos. And the storm. But the second? It’s referring to the day of rest. The Sabbath. And, more pointedly, it’s a metaphorical picture of heaven. It’s that blessedness of bliss in the place where He dwells. The place that He promises to us. After we persevere. And run our race. And jump the hurdles. After the toils and trials are finished. And the light affliction that lasted just a moment has led to that eternal weight of glory.

It’s a glorious dichotomy, when you think about it. When Jesus says “come to Me,” after seeing us breathless and exhausted from work and worry. “Let me take that weight off of you,” He says, trading out our heavy burdens for His light and easy yoke. Giving beauty for ashes. And the oil of joy for mourning. And the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Enabling us to run our race another day. Despite the diagnosis. Or the stress of a strong-willed-child. Or the heartbreak of delayed fertility. Despite every single thing that threatens to steal our rest. We run our race another day. And another day after that. And one more after that. And then, when it’s all said and done. And we stand before Him in heaven. He takes back His light and easy yoke. And returns to us a different kind of weight. One that is, somehow, weightless.

[Tweet “That thing that seems meaningless? It’s working a peculiarly eternal weight of glory. @desiringGod“]

Let’s get back to katapausis. The place of rest. It’s the Canaan that the Israelites craved when they wandered for those 40 years. There’s a responsibility on our part that dictates our ability to enter His rest. And obtain that eternal weight of glory. And for the Israelites in that story, the promise God had given was just out of reach.

You’ll find the most concentrated use of the katapausis noun in Hebrews. And the failure of those wilderness-wanderers with the Canaan-craving. It turns out that during that 40 year stretch, God was actually angry with them. And He swore that they would not enter into His Canaan-rest

because of their unbelief

God had brought His people out of slavery in dramatic fashion. He sent plague after plague. He protected the ones that put the blood on their door frames in a pure act of faith in the very first Passover. The Passover that became a perpetual holiday to remind every single generation to follow of what God did. And when the people were finally were free to leave Egypt, He led them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. And when the Egyptian army came after them hard and fast, He parted the sea for them. He provided daily nourishment in the form of manna. And when they complained about that, He sent quail. So much quail.

He performed miracle after miracle after miracle for them. Right in plain sight. But they took it for granted. And quickly forgot His manifold mercy. And grumbled and complained about everything He didn’t do. And then, after all that, when they were about to step foot into His Canaan-rest, and they saw the size of the people. And the fortification of the cities. They refused to go in. Because they didn’t believe that God was able to overcome the giant that stared them down.

We talk so much about being exhausted. And wanting a break. And needing to learn to rest. But the fundamental truth is that we will only experience true rest through Christ.

God promised that unbelieving-Israelite-generation a land of rest. One flowing with milk and honey. And strikingly different from their wilderness wandering. He promised them a stable home in lush country – a reward for persevering. It was right there. Theirs for the taking. And they fell short. Because they didn’t believe Him.

LORD, may we not miss out on that weight-of-glory rest You promise because we refuse to believe You. Because we think that it’s just another story. Or just any other religion. May we not miss out on your weight-of-glory-rest because we miss the fact that You are God. And without Christ, and the belief of Him, we cannot obtain mercy. LORD, help our unbelief. And help us to hope in heaven, and the promise of Your katapausis-place-of-rest.

Matthew 11:28-30
Isaiah 61:1-3
2 Corinthians 4:17
Hebrews 3:7-4:11
Numbers 14:1-39

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