When last I shared here, as far as the Be Still Series goes, I suggested that some of us struggle with resting well. Although there could be many reasons for this, today we are going to focus on one reason in particular: perhaps, just maybe, our ability to truly rest is lacking because we lack a deep enough trust in God to provide for us while we attempt to press pause in any real meaningful way. Do you think this could be true for you? It can be for me.
What if I miss that deadline? What if I don’t have time to give all the kids baths later? What if someone has to cover for me? What if….?
Here’s the thing: although I am guilty of not always putting the Lord first, I have never put the Lord first and been short on time because of it. As we learned elsewhere in this series, if we rest the way the Lord has designed us to rest, we are following a part of His will for our lives. Therefore, we can have a blessed assurance that by resting in such a way we will still be able to accomplish everything we need to accomplish on any given day. We may not get to everything we want to complete on our self-fabricated to-do lists. But, in such cases, rest assured those tasks bypassed for another day or season wouldn’t be essential to that day in question anyway. He always provides what we need.
One of my first blog posts was on the lesser known names of God. One of those names is Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides, and it applies to the 16th chapter in Exodus, which is where we are going to spend some time today.
Exodus 16 tells of a time when the Israelites were instructed by God to go out into the dessert and gather food (manna) for one day; none was to be saved for the next day. Think: you get an allowance each day, but then also have to spend down to zero each day, trusting you will have another allowance out of nowhere in the morning. I can feel my anxiety rising just thinking about it!
The Israelites continued in this way for just about a week. On the 6th day, however, they were to gather twice as much so as to last for the next day as well. Why? Because God instructed them to rest on the next day…the 7th day. Sound familiar?
And just like that, we can clearly see the nexus between trusting God while also honoring His command to rest a Sabbath’s rest.
The Israelites needed to trust in Him, that He would provide, and that they would not go hungry. They needed to practice a daily dependence on their God…our God. Then, they needed to do all this while they were “left” of the sidelines, allowed to rest, but not to gather any sustenance for an entire day.
Do you know what happened to those Israelites who took it upon themselves to harvest on day 7? They couldn’t harvest. There was nothing there for them. They could not get any additional nourishment that the Lord did not already provide. Verse 29 says:
Bear in mind that the Lord has GIVEN you the Sabbath; that is why of the sixth day he GIVES you bread for two days.Exodus 16:29, emphasis mine
Do you see? The sustenance and the sustaining rest are BOTH gifts to us from God. Who are we to manipulate such a divine plan for humanity?…especially one which commands rest?!
Can you think of a time when you were stretched beyond thin and yet you got through it all in tact? That was God. Can you think of a time when you didn’t know where the next paycheck was coming from but your bills still got paid? That was God. What about a time when you were so sick that you couldn’t bring yourself to sign into that zoom or drive for your turn in the carpool? Did everything work out? I thought so!
Friends, don’t wait until you are forced to stop from pure exhaustion, sickness or anxiety attacks. Even if you don’t get that far, I’ll bet none of us are all that pleasant to be around when we don’t press pause as we ought to. By obediently adhering to His commands and trusting in his provisions, you are proactively protecting your relationship with Him and others.
Father God, Jehovah Jireh, you are so reliable!! You conjured manna out of nowhere…in the middle of nowhere! Of course, you will provide for me and your church as I take a day to rejuvenate and focus on you alone. Remind me of that as often as I need to be reminded of it! Forgive me for being so stubborn and still wanting to get in all the things, especially in the time that really isn’t mine to begin with. Let me rest so you can provide and be glorified.
In Jesus’ Holy & Precious Name,