ENTER INTO HIS REST (Pt. 4)

“He said, “This is the resting place, let the weary rest”; and, “This is the place of repose”— but they would not listen. (Isaiah 28:12 NIV)

A friend shared with me the story of a man Whom God rescued from spiritual and ministry burnout. Someone recognized the signs of defeat and discouragement. Giving them the care and encouragement needed, they went on to become quite a useful vessel in the LORD.

SPIRITUAL DEPRESSION

In Isaiah 28, God diagnosed Israel’s spiritual declension as a condition brought about by ignoring His rhythm of rest. Later on, they would be sent into 70 years of captivity due to ignoring God’s Sabbath rest for themselves and the Land (Selah). Pushing past the season the Lord provides for intended rest can lead to spiritual depression and even destroy our usefulness in the kingdom of God. ELIJAH The scripture tells the story of Elijah following the great duel with the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 19). He haven been hidden for three years after daring to come before wicked king Ahab & confronting him with his wickedness. After this he meets 450 prophets of Baal to settle the issue for Israel as to whom they would serve, the idol Baal? Or the LORD God of Israel? We know that Elijah won the battle, God answered by fire from heaven. Seizing the spiritual momentum he dispatched the 450 prophets of Baal. The wicked queen Jezebel hears of what he has done and threatens to kill Elijah!

HIDDEN IN THE ROCK

Feeling all alone in the battle; physically and emotionally depleted, he heads for the hills (Actually the hill of God). Wise man. Like David, he finds his rest refuge in God. “From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. (Psalm 61:2 NIV) On his way to meet with the LORD God, he being exhausted and depressed leaves his servant behind. Perhaps, this was not the best decision in his spiritual crisis. Even our Lord Jesus desired spiritual companionship in the garden of Gethsemane. He also understood the strength and encouragement a spiritual partner can be in ministry. “If one can chase a thousand, two can put ten thousand to flight”(Deuteronomy?). Elijah goes on alone, feeling friendless and dejected.

HEAVEN’S VISITATION

The LORD is near to the broken hearted and to those who are discouraged. He sent His angels on the way to meet Elijah, while he rested; feeding Him with angel food cake. In time of physical and spiritual depletion, let us not neglect the promises of God. They are the words and food of heaven, which sustains the weary spirit and will lift the soul. Elijah was allowed to rest and be physically replenished on his journey to God. There he would gain his equilibrium and be prepared to pass his mantle to the next generation.

A SEASON OF REST

Our Lord Jesus knows our frame and understands the load we carry for Him. Mark records: “The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. (Mark 6:30-32 NIV)

We have entered into a time of many great battles. Pay attention to the rhythm and season of rest needed in your life and ministry calling. As someone once observed, “A bow always strung will lose its elasticity”.

 

(c) Copyright 2013, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied and shared provided it is not altered in any way from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com.

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