FREEDOM IS A JOURNEY
Israel was promised a land of rest; not the rest of inactivity, but rest from the toil and harsh taskmasters of slavery. This was to be the rest of productive lives lived under the rule of heaven. They would still have to work hard, but their work would now be fruitful and blessed. And their lives would also be defined by regular physical rest—unheard of in the ancient world.
Only people who are sure that their needs are met can rest, like the sheep in Psalm 23. The land the Israelites were entering promised to flow with milk and honey—both staples and luxuries. And significantly it would be watered from heaven, rather than from their own labours, as had been the case in Egypt. (You can read more about this in GOD'S PROMISE OF PROVISION.) Their new lives were to be characterised by sacred rhythms: work and rest; labour and fruitfulness; reflection and celebration. And right at its heart would be the presence of God.
But first the Israelites had to take the land—it wasn’t just empty, ready and waiting.
To do that they needed…
LEARNING FROM ISRAEL
What can we learn from these stories in our pursuit of rest?
1. There is a land of fruitfulness and blessing for us; a land of provision with God at the heart. We need to read Scripture, taking seriously its many promises, for these are our inheritance:
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ.
[2 Corinthians 2:20]
In addition, we can learn from other Christians who have gained significant ground. We need to ‘explore’ our 'promised land' and get gripped by a vision of it, developing our faith in the One who has paid the ultimate price to give it to us.
2. Then, we need to take on board the lessons of Israel’s conquest and by faith and patience inherit the promises [Hebrews 6:12].
NEXT WEEK: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE MAN OF PEACE AND REST
The one foundation for success...
PASS IT ON...
[Photo credits: Simon Berger (mountain range); Priscilla du Preez (bible in bag);
James Lee (2 birds) @ Unsplash, with thanks]
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