The Weapon of Rest

I read this in my devotional a while back:

“Remember that from the point of view of the Great Worker, one poor tool, working all the time, but doing bad work, is of small value compared with the sharp, keen, perfect instrument, used only a short time but which turns out perfect work.”

It reminded me of a story I heard; I don’t remember when or the setting, so if you know this story and I flub it up, forgive me in advance. There were these lumberjacks out on a job cutting trees, and one day, this brash young man challenged one of the others, a slightly older, definitely more experience worker, to see who could turn out more lumber. He had seemingly unfailing energy and was convinced he could cut more wood than anyone around. The other worker agreed, and they began early the next day. The brash young man went full speed, cutting more wood than he remembered ever cutting. After a while, he noticed the other man stopped cutting every hour or so for a short time, and then continued on. He knew at that rate, he would surely have more logs than the older man, and pressed on. They both broke for a mid-day meal, but the boastful man rushed back to his work, leaving the older man behind. At the end of the day, he looked proudly at his pile and went to boast to his competitor. He was shocked, though, to find that his pile was half again as big as his own. He didn’t understand how this could have happened! He finally asked the man how he managed to cut more wood, though he stopped more frequently. He answered that the rest restored to him more strength to continue, and while he rested, he was sharpening his ax. Because his ax was always sharp, his strokes were more efficient. It was the times of rest that strengthened him to accomplish more.

Some people say, “Work smarter, not harder.” There is a reason for rest, or YHWH wouldn’t have made a point to create it into our week. Our bodies know it, and yet sometimes we are convinced that pushing ourselves to the limit all the time will get more work done. What a lie that is. Phrases in Psalm 23 jump out at me: He makes me lie down in green pastures, and You prepare a table before me, in the presence of my enemies. There is something about taking time to smell the flowers, slowing down, resting a while, eating in the face of obvious threat, that drives the enemy wildly insane. It is at once quite funny and quite serious, because once we know and absorb this truth, it’s great to use that particular weapon. But if we are unaware, he will send distractions, and before we know it, we are caught up in a whole lot of busyness, and waiting for rest to find us, instead of making rest our priority.

Sleep during conflict

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rest, like any other weapon, takes skill and discipline to use. Try it out, and see how differently the battle goes…

Advertisements

Green Pastures?

A friend of mine and I were talking about Psalm 23, and how a lot of the imagery is not what we’ve been brought up to think it means. He sent me this link, and it made a lot of things click into place, and I just had to share:

 

In my hope journey, this reminds me of the Psalm 121:1 “I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help?” If the hills look desolate, my only hope is in trusting My Shepherd to lead me. It is a journey, not a destination. Selah.

Hope on Display

As I travel the hope journey, I contemplate the very familiar verse, “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB). I began reading that verse in the context of the chapter and realized it was saying something slightly different from what I’ve thought for a long time. Jeremiah is talking to the captives in (Babylon), and he told them that they were not going home anytime soon, no matter what the prophets there said. The land needs the rest from all the Sabbath years that they didn’t allow it to rest. Settle down, he said. Build houses, get married, have babies, bless the land where you are. They’ll go back, but not now. (Full Passage) Talk about hope deferred.

But then he relays what God says, about the plans He has for a future and a hope. In the face of exile, they were to look to hope – 70 years down the road. A hope in a land not their own, driven their by their disobedience and sin. What kind of hope does that look like? How do you hold on to hope in that situation? How do you hope in the face of a broken heart, crushed dreams, pain, despair – I could go on and on. What is the substance of that hope?

So of course, I looked it up. The Hebrew word from Strong’s is 8615, ‘tiqvah’, and it literally means cord, as an attachment. Figuratively, it means expectancy – expectation, expected, hope, live, thing that I live for. So this cord represents my hope – it’s something I can hang on to. I wonder if the phrase, “I’m at the end of my rope,” is rooted from there. Anyway, I went to look up where it was first used (law of first mention, and all that), and became undone.

Image from Tiqvah Counseling, Coaching and Education – https://tiqvahcce.com/

Tiqvah is used 34 times in various forms, and the first of which is in Joshua 2:18. This is the promise to Rahab to save her and her household from the destruction coming to her city of Jericho. The spies said, “…We [shall be] free from this oath to you which you have made us swear, unless, when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down, and gather to yourself into the house your father and your mother and your brothers and all your father’s household.” (Joshua 2:17-18, NAS). Her faith in a God she barely knew that made her help the spies turned an ordinary rope (Strong’s 2256) into a scarlet thread of HOPE. A hope of salvation from the emptiness and idolatry that surrounded her. A hope of life in the picture of death.

So she sent the spies away, and hung her hope out on display. It was a scarlet thread, not a quiet color, not a passive, fade in the background type of rope. This was easily seen by the spies when they came, easily seen by those who came and went. What was her explanation to those who asked? Was she ridiculed, admonished, discouraged, tempted to draw back her tiqvah?

We know how that story turned out. The spies saw her tiqvah on display, and fulfilled their promise and rescued her. It challenged me, though, about not only hanging on to my cord, my hope, but putting it on display as a sign, a testimony, a promise, a commitment. The Lord has given me a future and a tiqvah – how am I going to anchor it and display it, knowing that He will fulfill it? How will you?

Trusting to Hope

Mount of Blessing, Israel

From my series on trust, I find myself being led to the concept of hope. It has been a battle, though, as I try to reconcile that oft quoted verse in Romans 5:5 where it says that hope doesn’t disappoint.

I know the bible to be true and stand by its veracity, and its application to my life. That is the only thing standing in between me taking up a pair of scissors and redesigning that part of my precious scriptures. I’m sure tomes have been written on Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the heart-sick, but when longing is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.” But what happens when you seem to be stuck in the land of the deferment of hope?

As I pondered this, I sense the Lord pressing a bit on the issue. Laughing in the face of the Creator is not polite, but it was an instinctual reaction, and He’s still cleaning me up, in many ways. I realize that I can dodge the issue, which, to be honest, I have been for several months, but He has His own plans and purposes that rarely seem to match ours. So here I go, down this journey. And as I started to really focus, I realized that hope never seems to let its light flicker out. In another entry I wrote years ago, oddly enough, Trust to Hope, I commented about hope, “… the heart was fashioned to always hope – it always has to hope in something. And it has an amazing amnesia of what happened to hope the time before.”

Hmm. Hope – it is infinitely more than wishful thinking, but rather, a confident expectation. Hope remains, in some way, form, or fashion, always. 1 Corinthians 13:13: “Now these three remain, faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Hope is one of the three that remain, a light that refuses to be put out. And so begins this next adventure

Trust and Obey

I’ve been humming that old hymn “Trust and Obey” lately. There are a bunch of verses, but the chorus is this:

Trust and obey,
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey.

Those two really do go together. Obedience is a manifestation of trust. How can we say that we trust Our Lord and disobey what He asks of us? If I say, “Yes, I trust Him,” then when He asks something that seems impossible to my eyes, I need to rest in that trust and take the leap. And that is my thought for the day. Shana Tov!

RedShoooz – He Wants It All
BYNA 40 Days – Day 30, Day 31

Day of Trumpets

Today is Rosh Hoshana (the head of the year, or Yom Teruah (the Day of Trumpets or the Day of Blowing). It is the onset of the fall feasts, and the beginning of the 10 Days of Awe leading up to Yom Kippur, and the Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles. There is a lot of speculation as to what this time means in regards to the Day of the Lord, end times and all that, but I will leave that to people more knowledgeable than I.

I’m reflecting on the fact that this day is about announcing. It’s heralding the time of harvest, prodding us to reflect and repent, which can be bitter, humiliating, and I don’t know what else. It’s also a preparation for a glorious 8 day party, celebrating the Lord, His blessings, our family, our community, etc.

In Deuteronomy 32, the Song of Moses is taught. Yah instructed Moses to compose a song and teach it to the children of Israel, which was passed on from generation to generation. It calls for His people to learn from the past and look to the future. We sometimes either get bogged down by our past to the point that we can’t move on to what He has for us, or we completely dismiss and ignore our past, and can’t figure out why we keep making the same mistakes. Our Father –  so loving, trustworthy, and faithful – framed the appointed times in such a way that we are always growing closer to Him and shedding or turning away from the things that hinder. I am in awe, and during these Days of Awe, I will continue to reflect, repent, and learn, that I may go into the future celebrating His glory!!

Redshoooz – Give Me Your Eyes
BYNA 40 Days – Day 28, Day 29