We Rest on Thee


And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let no man prevail against thee 2 Chronicles 14:11.

We Rest on Thee is in my top five favorite hymns though it is a song I cannot remember ever hearing sang in any church I have attended. I first heard the song on a radio broadcast from Moody Tabernacle in Chicago just a few years ago. I love the message of the song which completely glorifies God and tells of his protection. The song is based on 2 Chronicles 14:11 which centers around the King of Judah Asa’s war with Ethiopia. The Ethiopian army outnumbered the army of Judah 1 million to 580,000 or about two to one. King Asa cried unto to the Lord that it is nothing to go against a multitude if we go in the name of the Lord.

God is our sure foundation. Isaiah tells the world about that foundation, the Lord, that was laid in Zion (Psalms 28:16). In 2 Tim 2:11 we are further told Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.

God is our strength and our fortress: I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower (Psalms 18: 1-2). For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me (Psalms 18:39). God’s strength alone is what we need to face and win our battles. Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power (Psalms 21:13). Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle (Psalms 24:8).

Not only is God our strength, he is our shield. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him (Psalms 28:7). Psalms 33:20 says Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield. What a shield He is: For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

God is our salvation, for those that place trust in the Lord. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid (Psalms 27:1). O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle (Psalms 140:7). He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler (Psalms 91:4). Because we are without our own strength, we need salvation. He has provided: For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6). Christ is the captain of our salvation (Heb 2:10).

God is the keeper of our souls! Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator (1 Pet 4:19).

While King Asa’s fight was against mortal man in symbolic form, our foe in battle is against satanic forces. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph 6:12). Lost humans are used by those forces to battle us. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (2 Cor. 4:3-4). We cannot in our ownselves, in our own weakness, in our own unrightousness defeat the foe. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof (Psalms 46:1-3). As far as King Asa’s war with Ethiopia, we know from 2 Chronicles 14:12-13 that the Lord smote the Ethiopian army.

One of my life’s earthly heros is Jim Elliot, a missionary serving in South America. Jim and four other missionaries were killed in Ecuador by Aucas in 1956. As a very young boy I remember hearing the story of these missionaries at the Highland Park Baptist Church. On the night before Jim Elliot and the other missionary men traveled by plane to site where they were killed, they read from the bible, prayed and sang We Rest on Thee. [For more information on the lifes and deaths of the five missionaries view this clip].

Edith Cherry wrote the lyrics of We Rest on Thee around 1895. They are sang to the music Finlandia, written in 1899, which is the music used with one of the national songs of Finland.

We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
We go not forth alone against the foe;
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.

Yes, in Thy Name, O Captain of salvation!
In Thy dear Name, all other names above;
Jesus our Righteousness, our sure Foundation,
Our Prince of glory and our King of love.
Jesus our Righteousness, our sure Foundation,
Our Prince of glory and our King of love.

We go in faith, our own great weakness feeling,
And needing more each day Thy grace to know:
Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,
“We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.”
Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing,
“We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.”

We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
Thine is the battle, Thine shall be the praise;
When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.
When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.

If you are tired from resting in your own weakness I encourage you to put on the strength of God whose salvation is eternal. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matt 11:28).

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