Ask for the Nations
Exodus 16-17; Matthew 11; Psalm 107
One of the most remarkable concepts in all of the Word, for me, is God’s command to take a Sabbath. He commands Israel to rest. I don’t know if we can imagine the utter shock of that call. Consider the context: The people of Israel have been enslaved for 400 years. Rest is not in their vocabulary. They know hard labor; they know brutal conditions.
The Lord calls them out of slavery. Moses leads them through the Red Sea. Their taskmasters, once in hot pursuit, are destroyed! Now, without fear and intimidation, Israel begins her journey through the wilderness. For the first time in four generations, Israel has no master. She is free. Except she doesn’t know how to be free. She only knows lack. She only knows fear.
In this context, the Lord is providing for her every need. Water from a rock, quail in the camp, manna on the ground. Morning by morning, day by day, He is leading her. He is providing for her. She is living a miracle.
Except sometimes, when you are living in an answer to prayer, it doesn’t feel like an answer. Rather than seeing the day-to-day provision and responding with trust, Israel is seeing this from another angle altogether. She’s saying, “I know I have enough for today, but what if I don’t have anything for tomorrow?”
It’s easy to fault Israel, but I’ve been there. Being desperate isn’t a comfortable place. It’s the place where we become acquainted with our utter lack.
Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” (Matthew 5:3) In other words, blessed are the desperate, the destitute. And I know He’s right. I know He’s telling us the truth. He’s really saying, You can trust God in your weakness. You can trust God when you have no answers. You can trust His character.
Desperation is the only way to discover this truth. It’s when you come to the end of yourself that you find God.
Israel knew how to work. She knew how to fret. But she had not learned how to trust. She had no concept of rest.
And so, God commands a weekly Sabbath.
It’s amazing! What other god would command rest?
On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much bread, two omers each. And when all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, he said to them, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord; bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over lay aside to be kept till the morning.’” So they laid it aside till the morning, as Moses commanded them, and it did not stink, and there were no worms in it. Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, which is a Sabbath, there will be none.
On the seventh day, some of the people went out to gather, but they found none. And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws? See! The Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore on the sixth day, he gives you bread for two days. Remain each of you in his place; let no one go out of his place on the seventh day.” So the people rested on the seventh day.
If today you find yourself in the press, in a desperate place, allow the Lord to do the full work in you. He loves you. Rather than worrying and spinning your wheels, rather than trying to gather extra manna, just yield to the word of the Lord. Allow yourself to rest.
“See! The Lord has given you the Sabbath.”
Say yes! Say yes to His provision in your life. Enter into His rest.
Deepening Faith: Reflective Journal Prompts
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