Mark 6:30-32 Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.
Once the word about the miracles that Jesus was doing and how He had empowered His apostles to do those same things, the people flocked to them. The multitudes came from all over to hear and receive the life that they offered. Healings abounded and many received the miracle working power of God through them. They found themselves constantly ministering to the needs of the people until they had no time for themselves to rest. Many times they didn’t even have time to sit down and eat a meal because the needs of the people were so great. In this particular instance after the apostles had been out ministering Jesus sensed their need for rest so He took them away to a deserted place where He thought they could get by themselves to have some time to rest and refresh themselves for the days ahead.
Rest – Greek word anapauo – Strong’s #373 means “to make to cease.” The word describes a cessation from toil, a refreshment, an intermission.
Everyone needs time away from the demands of life to catch their breath, to relax and to enjoy a little “down” time. A lot of ministers will take Monday off after having such a demanding ministry day on Sunday. God, the Father, said that man should work six days and then take a day for rest.
Exodus 31:15-17 ‘Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. ‘Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. ‘It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.’”
Rested – Hebrew word shabat – Strong’s #7673 means to stop, to rest, to cease, to end. This verb is of great importance in the Old Testament, mainly because of the noun that is formed from it: shabbat, or as we say, “Sabbath.” The shabbat is the day when all work ceases, and Israel rests and meditates on the glories of God’s creation (heaven and Earth), just as God rested on that first Sabbath (Gen. 2:1-3)
God worked in making His creation for six days and then He took a day for resting and refreshing Himself. He knew that His man would need that same “down” time to give his spirit, soul and body the refreshment they need to be able to handle the demands of life. We now live in a society that goes constantly; people rarely take time to just do nothing but be with the Lord. They are pulled in all different directions by the high demands of life. Some work even on Sundays which is the Lord’s day and supposed to be a day of rest. And even when they take time off to rest their vacations are so filled with activities or work that they do at home that they never get to the place where they feel rested from being away from work. They simply exchange one form of work for another.
It is when people continue in the high demands placed on themselves that their bodies become stressed and eventually break down under the pressure. Their emotions are pulled in different directions and Christians can experience instability in their spiritual walk with the Lord because the demands on their bodies have become so great.
In 1 Kings 19 we read the story of Elijah running into the wilderness fleeing from Jezebel who wanted to kill him for the ministry he had done in exposing her and the false prophets that were leading the people astray. We find that because of his extreme fatigue his whole emotional outlook towards ministering for the Lord became skewed. He was tired and emotionally drained and listen to what he said to the Lord because of it:
1 Kings 19:1-4 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” and when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, LORD, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”
Elijah was tired, stressed and emotionally drained. He had confronted all the prophets of Jezebel and ministered mightily in exposing them and revealing God to the people as the One true God. He hand of the Lord was upon him to end the drought they had been experiencing for three years. He had run ahead of Ahab to beat the abundance of rain that was coming as he spoke according to God’s word to end the drought and bring rain upon the land once again. His ministry was flourishing and he was exhausted as he met the attacks of the enemy. He spoke to the Lord of wanting to die because he simply was worn out from working in the ministry.
God didn’t condemn him or reject him for feeling the way he felt. But instead He caused him to lie down and rest. After the rest he sent an angel to minister refreshment to him.
1 Kings 19:5-7 Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the LORD came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.”
God ministered to him in his time of fatigue. He sent an angel to provide foot for him after he slept. The Father knew that he needed time to rest and be refreshed before he could continue on doing what He had called him to do. People need time to rest and be refreshed or they will burn out under the demands of life. It was only after Elijah had taken time to rest and have proper nourishment that he would be able to go back into the high demands of ministry that God had given him.
Are you tired this morning? Do you feel that life is overwhelming you? Maybe you just need some time away from it’s demands to rest and refresh yourself; to get the proper perspective about what is taking place.
Friends, I have written a daily devotional blog pretty much every day for the last six months and I am tired. I realize that I need to take some time off periodically so I have some time away from the demands of ministry. Not only have I written this blog, but I have also continued to pursue my college degree through this time as well as teaching as requested by my Pastor on Wednesday nights. I am going to take some time off to rest. I may continue to have a daily blog for you as I feel lead to share, but if I am not here every day please don’t think that I have deserted you; I am simply taking the day off. I will seek the Lord for what to share and if I have a shortened blog for that day I will still present it to you. I know that many of you count on me for your devotional life and I feel the pressure of being responsible to feed the sheep in this manner. Please know that my heart is to share God’s word with you and to encourage you in your daily walk with the Lord. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement to me through your comments, prayers and personal words of encouragement. I appreciate each one of you!
Father, I thank you for the opportunity to minister Your word to the people. I thank You for the avenue You have given me to share what I feel You have placed on my heart with others. And I thank You for their faithfulness in reading and commenting on my blogs. They have been faithful supporters of the work that I feel that You have called me to do in this place. I ask You now, to meet their every need. Fill them with the spiritual manna that they need to build up their spirit man to meet the demands of life. Give them the strength that they need to fight the battles that the enemy brings into their lives. Love them through me, Lord, and give me the word from Your word that will lighten their load and encourage them. Thank You, Father, for times of rest and refreshment. I pray that as I rest You will fill me to overflowing with what You want me to share with them. I love ministering Your healing balm to those that You have placed within my sphere of influence and I thank You for the opportunity to speak into their lives what You would have me share with them. I pray Your blessing on each reader this morning that comes to this blog to find spiritual nourishment. Grant them the blessing of knowing You, Lord. Fill them to overflowing with Your very presence and give them rest from their labors. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.