Offering, Rest and Worship

As we meditate on the Word today, let’s assume that we are talking to God about: (1) Our gifts to Him and (2) Our day/time of rest, and (3) Our attitude and quality of worship to Him. It might be an interesting conversation in light of what He demands in today’s Scripture!

DATE WRITTEN: Saturday, 2021-04-17
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: Exodus 34:20-21; 23
TRANSLATION: Good News Translation (GNT)

BIBLE TEXT: 20 …… “No one is to appear before me without an offering.
21 “You have six days in which to do your work, but do not work on the seventh day, not even during plowing time or harvest.
23 “Three times a year all of your men must come to worship me, the Lord, the God of Israel. 24 After I have driven out the nations before you and extended your territory, no one will try to conquer your country during the three festivals.

OBSERVATION: As we meditate on the Word today, let’s assume that we are talking to God about: (1) Our gifts to Him and (2) Our day/time of rest, and (3) Our attitude and quality of worship to Him. It might be an interesting conversation in light of what He demands in today’s Scripture!

APPLICATION: There are three major themes in today’s Scripture and I would like for us to meditate on each:
(1) Offering – Remember, when God told Moses that no one was to appear for worship without an offering, or gift, this was at a time when the Israelites were being led across the wilderness from Egypt to the Promised Land. But God had no doubt that everyone had something to give as an offering. In today’s church, there are many who use the excuse that they only make minimum wage, so they can’t afford to tithe. Others may think they make way too much to imagine giving a tithe for such a large amount to their local church. Although God is their Judge, I believe that a percentage is based on the total income of an individual. No one looks for an excuse to not have government taxes subtracted from their wages. If 10% is due to God out of your income, then I would suggest that you look at your net income as being less government taxes and your tithes. That may sound like a lot to some, and it may sound impossible to others, but I believe that God is teaching us to be appreciative enough about all that He has blessed us with, that we are willing to give back a portion for His ongoing work/ministry. Remember the example Jesus gave about the poor widow who gave everything she had, all two cents? Does God or His church need our money to survive? Probably not, but I believe God is teaching us to be a giving people, not unappreciative children of the One who gave even His very own Son for us;
(2) Rest – I had a friend who once challenged me on the amount of rest I was getting. He told me about two men chopping down trees in the forest. One stopped ever few hours to sharpen his axe, while the other had no time to stop and improve the efficiency of his tool. Which of these do you suppose chopped down the greatest number of trees? Similarly, if we obey God’s commands to rest for one day out of the seven that He blesses us with, we too will enjoy sharper minds, rested bodies and more energy to work harder during the other six days. Note also that God quickly added that this routine should occur in spite of everything else that’s going on – even planting and harvesting!
(3) Worship – Cheerleaders will encourage players with the chant ‘1, 2, 3, 4, who do we appreciate?’ Taking deliberate time to worship God each week is much like those cheerleaders. Taking time to praise God for His goodness and His endless supply of health and provisions, is something that all thankful people do, whether to their parents, spouse or employer. Could it be that God will bless us even more when we stop to be obedient to Him and show our appreciation to Him through our worship? Let’s be sure to never think that simply attending church satisfies God that we are thankful for His mercy. From a heart filled with thanksgiving, our mouths will sing forth personalized, sincere praise fit only for our King!

PRAYER: Precious Lord, You showed Your power in wonderful ways, blessing Moses and the Israelites as You led them out of slavery in Egypt, through the Wilderness and into the Promised Land. Yet it was necessary for You to coach them towards giving, rest and worship. But this is so timely for us also, for we often overlook our blessings and take Your precious gifts for granted. Please forgive us Lord, and help us to be good representatives of the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. You are worthy of our praise each and every day. Please help us to make time for rest, and may we be faithful in our giving from the resources that You richly bestow on us. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. You may also visit me on Spotify and listen to Nuggets while you’re out and about. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

How to Find Much Needed Rest

I’m sure that Jesus saw how busy everyone around Him was, and He also knew how much worse that would probably get with each generation to come. Jesus knew the importance of taking time to rest the body, soul and mind, but He also knew that He had provided for it in His Word and His teachings, so He had to really get to the hearts and minds of mankind, who was starting to find more value in busyness than in regenerating himself through peace, relaxation and renewal. There should never be a time in our lives that we feel there is way too much for us to do, to stop and rest for a whole day. Let’s look closer at the Word of God on this matter.

SCRIPTURE  F0R REFLECTION:   Matthew 11:28-30 (ERV)

TEXT:  28 “Come to me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest. 29 Accept my teaching. Learn from me. I am gentle and humble in spirit. And you will be able to get some rest. 30 Yes, the teaching that I ask you to accept is easy. The load I give you to carry is light.”

OBSERVATION:   I’m sure that Jesus saw how busy everyone around Him was, and He also knew how much worse that would probably get with each generation to come. Jesus knew the importance of taking time to rest the body, soul and mind, but He also knew that He had provided for it in His Word and His teachings, so He had to really get to the hearts and minds of mankind, who was starting to find more value in busyness than in regenerating himself through peace, relaxation and renewal. There should never be a time in our lives that we feel there is way too much for us to do, to stop and rest for a whole day. Let’s look closer at the Word of God on this matter.

APPLICATION:   This will either be a very challenging devotion to write or it will be a welcoming reminder to me as I write what I felt on my heart as I read this Scripture. Way back in Exodus 23:12 after God had just created the earth and mankind, He knew that man just could not hold up to working 7 days per week, so He ordered that one of those days be considered a day of rest and worship – a Sabbath. Notice that this was a command and not a suggestion, because the God who created us, knew what our mortal bodies need in order to function properly. A friend once told me of two axe-men working in the forest, One was so busy and dedicated to his work that he would just swing that axe all day. His partner would stop every other hour and sharpen his axe while taking a much needed rest. At the end of the day, who do you suppose cut down the most trees? In the Exodus story, the Israelites who violated the Sabbath law, paid for their sin with his or her life. Did you know that today the death penalty is still in effect, however it’s a gradual death that comes from overwork, stress and anxiety? To observe a Sabbath day of rest is to announce, “God knows what I need more than I do. If He says to rest, I will rest.” And as we do, our bodies and minds will be refreshed. In a book written by Max Lucado entitled ‘Less Fret, More Faith’ he offers the following suggestions to refresh our body, soul and mind:

  • Don’t overdo it. Understand your limits. If you think you have no limits, then you have more than most people.
  • Once you have reached your limits, stop. Don’t work until you drop. Find a pace of life that works for you, and stick to it.
  • Maintain regular breaks during the day. Naps are biblical.
  • Give your mind a rest from technology. Turn off, unplug, detach from social media, news, and all the tech toys that deplete energy.
  • Learn to relax. To relax is to disengage and let go. An hour or daylong Sabbath is not the time to catch up with your work. It is a time to entrust your work to God. After all, He worked for six days and then rested. The world didn’t fall apart. It won’t for you either.

Friends, our churches are falling apart because folk are attending out of habit, but they are so tired that they sit there and either fall asleep or they are in ‘lala’ land because of the many things on their mind. Let me encourage you at the very beginning of a promising new year, to make it a year that you manage your time better. Be sure that there is time for God, for your spouse, your children and most importantly, time for yourself. Aim at putting some balance into your life, so that we may spend more quality time with Christ and find sweet rest for our souls. We will become much more productive in life, and hopefully conform better with the design God has intended for our lives!

PRAYER:   Lord Jesus, You designed us to rest, to worship You, and to be children of the King, who would share that joy with others. We have realized how impossible this is when we are always tired beyond words. Thank You for Your precious Word today that reminds us of the importance of keeping a good time balance in our lives. Lord may we be obedient to all You have directed, and may we be found faithful to all you have commanded of us. Please help us to realize the importance of being obedient to You, vs working ourselves to pieces in order to try and impress others. Rest comes only in You, while more and more stress and endless work, comes from trying to impress others. Use us today to touch the lives of others, even in the area of prioritizing our time of rest. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’.  If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!