Rest. It’s a word that drew me to the 7th year because the 7th year is symbolic of biblical time frames of rest.
Leviticus 25: 2-5 says:
2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the LORD. 3 For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. 4 But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. 5 Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.”
Sound easy enough? How many of us would jump at the chance to take a whole year off every seven years? Perhaps if we knew we’d still be paid, but what if we completely had to trust in God’s provision? Rest and trust…. that’s more of a challenge.
The Israelites did not obey the command to rest from work and to rest the land during the seventh year. When I read about their disobedience I actually feel a sense of regret in my heart, wondering what blessings they missed out on.
What’s so important about resting anyway? We’re going to rest for all of eternity…why waste time resting now?
Knowing Jesus came to destroy the works of the enemy (1 John 3:8), I believe rest was and is vital for spiritual warfare. When I’m exhausted I’m vulnerable to spiritual attack in my health and emotions. Being tired makes it harder for me to hear God’s voice. The command to rest was given before Jesus became our sabbath rest, however the principle still stands. Some times we have to stop working so that we can be strong in the battles we encounter.
Initially, God’s commands can seem crazy. Rest and let God provide. Currently I’m in one of the busiest seasons of my life; founding a conference ministry, raising four children, and helping my husband manage a summer church camp. Yet, I often hear the Lord say to me, “lay it aside, seek me, and find rest for your soul.” In the kingdom when we “do” less we often can accomplish more. It’s the inside, outside, upside down way. Only a supernatural God can make up for what we lack.
We are hosting a large women’s event in Portland in exactly eleven days. I’m flying out in ten. Last week I went into a complete panic. We need 200 + women to register in order to break even and we only had 25. Fear tried to seize my faith, but God is showing me how to overcome and not cave to fear. In fact, the moment I decided to fully rest in Him I became filled with anticipation for what He’s going to do at this conference.
Fear will lead to striving, striving will make me tired, being tired will cause me to miss His voice. If I miss His voice I’ll be unable to lead others into His presence.
When I realized the lack of registrations my initial response was to stay up late searching the internet for places to send information out. It’s good and wise stewardship to promote our events well, but the bottom line is we have to trust God. As we are faithful to do our part, He will do His. What I heard Him say to me this week was “rest, heal, soak, and trust, this is how you need to battle this warfare”. Jesus is going to do something that only He can do and it will be a lot better if I stay out of the way.
As much as I wish the Israelites would have obeyed, I can relate to their disobedience. How logical is it to stop working and still have provision? Our finite human minds can not wrap around such an illogical concept. God does command us to work, but when He says rest, we will profit more if we listen and obey.
My prayer today:
Remind me to rest and trust in you. Warn me when I’m striving in my own strength and teach me to remember your yoke is easy and your burden is light. OH, and thank you that registrations are raining in…..I’m full of anticipation that you are going to do a great work in me and many other women’s lives!