Seasons of Refreshing

bench by river under willow tree

... so there may come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord...
Acts 3:17 ASV

In this passage, we find that seasons of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord. The Greek word found here implies revival, literally a recovery of breath. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for refresh is also translated as comfort, establish, hold up, strengthen, replenish.

God desires us to be comforted, strengthened, and refreshed! As we look through Scripture, we find some keys to attaining refreshment.


God provided Himself as an example to us in the very beginning when He rested on the seventh day of creation. He reiterated the importance of rest as He gave Moses the law to share with all of Israel.

Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your servant, and the alien may be refreshed.
Exodus 23:12

God emphasized the importance of rest in Exodus 31 as he declared the Sabbath as a sign of the covenant between Israel and Himself that would last forever. He also reminded the hearers that He was refreshed when He rested after creation.

Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
Exodus 31:16-17

When seeking to understand God's view of the Sabbath, we must realize that He gave the sabbath as a blessing and not a burden. When the Pharisees confronted Jesus about his actions on the Sabbath, Jesus reminded them that the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath. (Mark 2:27-28) When we set aside that one day each week to rest and reset, seeking God's presence, we receive a blessing from the Lord!


God spoke through Peter to the Jewish people who were responsible for the death of Jesus. He reminded them of God's promise of a Savior, and told of their rejection of His Holy and Righteous One, whom they traded for a murderer. Even in this rebuke, Peter offered them hope.

And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.
Acts 3:17-21

We see that repentance is essential - even when we have acted wrongly out of ignorance. That repentance includes humbling ourselves, asking forgiveness, turning back from our wrong direction, and prioritizing time with God. The result is forgiveness, the blotting out of our sins, and entry into God's presence.


Proverbs chapter three is filled with rich wisdom for living and the great rewards we will reap when we heed its instruction. Take time later to read the entire chapter and meditate on its full content.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.

Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.

It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.

When you lie down, you will not be afraid.
Yes, you will lie down, and your sleep will be sweet.
Proverbs 3:5-8, 24

When we put the entirety of our trust in God, in combination with fearing God and forsaking sin, God promises healing and refreshment. This trust relies on our absolute faith in God's infallible character, no matter the circumstances around us, no matter what earthly wisdom prescribes. We can always trust God to perform His word and keep His promises! This faith is demonstrated through obedience to God.

God's Presence

David described God as our shepherd in the twenty-third Psalm, expressing His loving care for us in a very refreshing illustration.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.

Later, as David is feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, his prayer demonstrates a journey that includes petition, repentance, proclamation of God's goodness, self-encouragement, resolve, and then ends with worship. I believe David received his own refreshing through the process of penning this psalm.

I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving... who seek God, let your hearts revive...

Psalm 69:30, 32

For the weary, Jesus offers us a beautiful promise of rest when we come to Him.

Come to me,
all you who labor and are heavily burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you,
and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart;
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30

Scripture references from the World English Bible.