Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Exodus 23:10-13 (NIV)
“For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, 11 but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what is left. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove. “Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed. “Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips.”
Exodus 23:10-13 (MSG)
“Sow your land for six years and gather in its crops, but in the seventh year leave it alone and give it a rest so that your poor may eat from it. What they leave, let the wildlife have. Do the same with your vineyards and olive groves. “Work for six days and rest the seventh so your ox and donkey may rest and your servant and migrant workers may have time to get their needed rest. “Listen carefully to everything I tell you. Don’t pay attention to other gods—don’t so much as mention their names.
“You shall sow your land six years and harvest its yield, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie uncultivated, so that the poor among your people may eat [what the land grows naturally]; whatever they leave the animals of the field may eat. You shall do the same with your vineyard and olive grove. Six days [each week] you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall stop [working] so that your ox and your donkey may settle down and rest, and the son of your female servant, as well as your stranger, may be refreshed. Now concerning everything which I have said to you, be on your guard; do not mention the name of other gods [either in a blessing or in a curse]; do not let such speech be heard [coming] from your mouth.” -AMPLIFIED
This portion of Exodus 23 drives home the point that we, our fields, our animals, even our servants and workers need rest. God made our bodies in such a way that they need to power down from time to time, kick back and wind down.
God never intended us to be workaholics. In fact, He instituted from the very beginning times that would be made for rest and relaxation. As a matter of fact, we can look back at the Creation and see God’s example of rest given to us. “On the seventh day—with the canvas of the cosmos completed—God paused from His labor and rested. Thus God blessed day seven and made it special—an open time for pause and restoration, a sacred zone of Sabbath-keeping, because God rested from all the work He had done in creation that day.” -Genesis 2:2-3 (VOICE)
God resting on the seventh day was to be a model for His people. It was a demonstration of the kind of Sabbath rest He wanted for His own. Rest is a good thing; it allows your body, mind and spirit to decompress. It helps you to keep your focus on God; because when we allow work to become our focus we have allowed work to take God’s place and work becomes an idol in our lives.
Rest is a gift to us from our Loving, Heavenly Father. Face it, on mornings when you have slept well, you wake up ready to take on any task that God has for you, but on those mornings when you have tossed and turned or missed a few hours sleep, you are not prepared to handle anything. On those mornings you are physically, mentally and emotional drained and the day has not even started. Solomon penned these words, “It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves?” -Psalm 127:2 (MSG)
Jesus was an advocate for rest. He told His followers, “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Put My yoke upon your shoulders—it might appear heavy at first, but it is perfectly fitted to your curves. Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. When you are yoked to Me, your weary souls will find rest. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30 (VOICE)
Have you been following God’s example lately? If not, take some time to rest and relax. I can guarantee you will be happy you did and your body will thank you for it.
Lord, you set me an example to follow; yet sometimes I find it difficult to wind down and rest. Sadly, I think that I have allowed other things take the place in my life that only you should be holding; forgive me please. I do not want to allow anything to come between you and me. Help me to learn to take that rest that you have commanded me to take. I realize that relaxing and resting is actually beneficial to me and it helps me to function and think better. Help me to take advantage of the opportunities you have provided for me to recharge. You know me better than I know myself. Thanks for thinking of all the details and for being such a loving, understanding Father.