Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.
Two weeks ago, we talked about the secrets of the Miracle of Israel and we learnt that one of the things that made Israel stand out is the wisdom and the grace of God who taught their hands how to war. In Psalm 144:1 David said, God has taught my hands how to war. So if you are must fulfil God`s purpose in your life then you will have to learn how to war a good war – in prayers, in praises, in the knowledge and the word of God..
Another wisdom we can learn from Israel is Nazareth. Nazareth used to be a hamlet (a very small city) in the time of Jesus and hence when Nathanael was told Jesus is from Nazareth, he replied, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:45-46). Thank God, Jesus came out of Nazareth, because of this Nazareth has never remained the same and a very big city today.
Has someone ever asked you can anything good come out of your life? Not sure what your answer would been but I assure you, yes something good can come out of you because you are expected to succeed. Not only are you expected to exceed your own expectations, you shall also exceed the expectations of those around you and through you your family, your city and your nation shall be blessed in Jesus name.
Another wisdom we can learn from Israel is that the size of their enemies is incredible large and because they have enemies on every side of their boarder, this make us to know that the size of your destiny determines the size of your enemies or challenges. So if you sense you have a big destiny better be ready to face some challenges.
When Joseph began to speak about his dreams (Genesis 37); guess what? From then on, the enemy began to attack him, to the extent that his own brothers motivated by the enemy to kill him. Also Genesis 25:22-25 tells us Rebekah was pregnant with twins and the pregnancy was so difficult to the extent she went to inquire from the Lord and the Lord told her two nations are in her womb and one shall be stronger than the other. This also tells us that if you want to carry a heavy destiny then your heart will need to be ready for great things and great challenges.
2 Samuel 5:17 tells us David was declared to become a King, however it took many years for the declarations to come to past but eventually, when he became a King, guess what happened? Immediately the Philistines began to plan how to kill David. So don`t be surprise if your breakthrough comes with oppositions, you just hold on to your God and know how to war a good war because you will need it. If Israel can strive in the midst of enemies, you also can strive in the name of Jesus. Declare to yourself, the Lord has brought me a mighty long way, though I am not where I want to be yet but I have come a mighty long way, to God be they glory.
Another incredible wisdom about Israel is the “Sabbath” which is a Saturday in Israel. Actually, in Israel the Sabbath starts on a Friday evening (their weekend is Friday and Saturday and by Sunday they are back to work). As I noticed in Israel, they have a service on Friday evening and this usher them into the Sabbath (Saturday). This sounded a little strange how they will start their Sabbath a day before. For us, the church of Christ Sabbath is on Sunday, so it is just like us starting our Sunday on a Saturday evening.
I also noticed that on the Sabbath everything changes, no work, no stress and everywhere is completely quiet. And so I began to talk to the Lord to understand how is that this Sabbath is so important to them. And this brought back my memory to a professional report I have read some years ago, where the economy of Germany and the United Kingdom were compared to understand what is it that has made Germany`s economy much buoyant than that of United Kingdom? And one of the things that report said was that Germany celebrates Sabbath on Sunday. In other words, in Germany all shops are closed on a Sunday as compared to the United Kingdom where on Sunday is like any other day but yet we seemed not to even make more money because of this. This tells us that there is something about the Sabbath that is so fundamental to us as Christians. If Germany is getting it right by respecting the Sabbath, just as Israel is respecting the Sabbath, then there must be some secrets for us to learn here.
So let us look together the secrets of the Sabbath.
In scripture, God Himself instituted the Sabbath. After creating all that He created, on the seventh day He rested. Now the first question is. Why did God rest on the seventh day? Was it because he was tired? Definitely not, because God does not get tired, in fact if God gets tired and go to sleep then we are in trouble. So what is it then that is so special about the Sabbath? And why did God rest on the Seventh day?
God rested on the Seventh day because God wanted to establish a commandment and instruction for us and an example that we also ought to rest.
In addition, the Lord instructed based on Genesis 1, 2, & 3 that the seventh day is a day of rest. Man was created on the sixth day of creation and man first full day of existence was the seventh day. So man is designed, crafted, innovated and engineered to function only by resting in the settled work of God. For a man or a woman who is always troubled or stressed up, I pray for you, receive God`s rest this season in Jesus name.
What does rest mean? Rest mean spiritual, emotional and physical rest. And what happens when you rest?
When you rest, you have a time of reflection to look back at your life. You have a time of refreshing and recharging. When you rest you bring rejoicing into God`s presence. When you rest, creativity, innovation, breakthrough, revelations, new ideas and inspirations come to you.
So what is it that the Jews do on a Sabbath? The practices of a Sabbath life style
1) The Jews prepare for the Sabbath, so you need to prepare for the Sabbath. The bible tells us the expectation of the righteous shall not be cut off. Which means when someone has an expectations and when he/she comes to God`s presence God will take your expectations and make it happen. So one of the things we must do as we prepare for Sunday, is to have a plan and expectation and prepare spiritually. The Jews prepares spiritually right from the Friday and they don’t do any work on the Sabbath. Therefore, prepare for your Sunday. Prepare to meet your God.
2) You need special songs on Sabbath day. For example, Psalm 92 is a song specially designed for Sunday. This means how we do on Sunday is not by our choice but a special procedure for it.
3) You must plan to observe rest on a Sabbath day. Different people have different way of resting but whichever way you want to do it, you must rest on a Sabbath day.
4) You must have some intentional prayers on the Sabbath day.
5) You must attend church in fellowship on the Sabbath day. Act 16:13 and Hebrew 10:25 tells us you must not miss the assembly of the saints. Sunday is a day of gathering and not a day for staying at home or watching football when we should be in church but a day for joining the assembly of the saints.
6) The Sabbath is a day of festival.
7) The Sabbath day is a day to contemplate the spiritual aspect of life.
8) Is a day to spend time with families and friends, intentionally.
9) Is a day to ready, study and discuss God`s word.
10) Is a day for marital relationship between husband and wife.
Hebrew 4 tells us that the Jews that left Egypt could not enter the Promised Land except for two – Kaleb and Joshua. And if we may asked why could they not enter the Promised Land? Because they could not find God`s rest.
The plan of God was to take them to the Promised Land but they could not enter the Promised Land because they could not enter God`s rest. Why could they not enter God`s rest? Because they did understand, God was everything to them.
Every little trouble they had, they complained and grumbled and they forgot very quickly the God who brought them out of Egypt. Why did they forget very quickly? Because they never really sat down at any point in time to reflect how far God has brought them.
Only two people did that reflection – Joshua and Kaleb and that was why they could enter the Promised Land. The others could not enter the Promised Land because they were intimidated by the size of their enemies and thus saw themselves as grasshopper in the midst of giants. But Joshua and Kaleb understands that the God who brought them out of Egypt will see them through these Giants.
The truth is that if you do not take time to reflect in the things of God, you will begin to give attention to the things that do not matter. Some people will begin to celebrate men for their success, forgetting that God is the One who gives the power to make wealth and the One who direct to us the helpers of destiny.
When you find God`s rest, you have rest on every side no matter what the challenge are. Esther, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego all found rest in the hands of God and God saw them through the difficult times.
I pray for you, from today you will enter God`s rest in Jesus name. God will see you through the difficult times in Jesus name. So have faith in God because He will surely see you though.
Remain blessed and have a wonderful week.
By Pastor Mark Igiehon