Are You Resting When You Should Be Moving?
“Then he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” So they saddled the donkey for him; and he rode on it, and went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak…”
(1 Kings 13:13-14)
Yesterday I wrote about 1 Kings 13:16-19 regarding the man of God and how he disobeyed the command of God by doing what the old prophet had told him to do which was opposite of what God had told him to do (read the post “Proceed With Caution” for more of the story). As a brief overview of the story, the man of God was commanded by God to go to Bethel, he was not to eat bread nor drink water there, nor return by going the way he came. As we see in the story, his job was to speak to King Jeroboam and prophesy. He also did a mighty work by restoring the king’s shriveled hand to normal. These were all victories, however, as he left the town, an old prophet caught up with him and convinced him by lying to him to come back to Bethel with him and eat and drink with him saying and angel of the Lord told this to him (the man of God had refused to do this when the king asked him too because of the command of the Lord). This disobedient act by the man of God resulted in the man of God’s death. I had more questions regarding this scripture so I researched it more to understand it better. Something stood out to me as I studied and researched this scripture more…how the man of God was found sitting under an oak tree apparently resting.
God had given the man of God a strict command in 1 Kings 13:17:
“For I have been told by the word of the LORD, ‘You shall not eat bread nor drink water there, nor return by going the way you came.’”
Now, nowhere in this command did God say, “do not rest along the way”, but what if the man of God had not chosen to rest along the way after completing his mission in Bethel? Would this old prophet still have found him? If not, perhaps he would have lived. We must also look at this mission…it may seem like the man of God completed the mission, but really a mission isn’t really complete until you come back home as many things can happen along the way.
What happens when we must complete a job and we take some time to rest? There certainly is nothing wrong with resting, and I’m all for it, but I know what happens to me…I sometimes do not want to continue on. I either become distracted from completing the job or my flesh sometimes takes over and when I haven’t eaten or drank anything, I can become weak and not think as clearly as I had in the beginning of my job. I also find it hard to get moving again, losing stamina. How many times have we taken a vacation and when it’s time to get back to work we think “I don’t want to go back to work!” We seem to lose momentum because we can become accustomed to just enjoying our rest. For me, if I allow myself to stay in my home long enough, I won’t want to get out and do anything because I feel comfortable in my home and laziness settles in.
Let’s look at the situation surrounding the man of God. He just got done with a major victory, it had to be hot considering his location, on top of that add no nourishment, and finally he stopped to rest on his way back to Judah. All of these things can definitely lead to becoming a bit weak in the flesh and being easily deceived. When we start out doing a job for God, we are usually strong and on fire for the Lord. We can have many battles and many victories but somewhere along the way due to a lack of nourishment, heated conditions, and being fatigued, we decide to sit down and rest instead of completing the job to the fullest. Although rest is good, when it’s in the middle of a job we can become easily distracted and therefore easily deceived and lured away from the path which can lead to a spiritual death. In Luke 10:3-4 Christ sent out 70 disciples, two by two, and gave them explicit directions. In versus 3-4 some of the directions were the following:
“Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves. “Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road.”
In verse 4 Christ told them to greet no one along the road. The disciples had a job to do and Christ knew not only how important that job was but that the enemy would try to interfere with the completion of that job through distraction and deception. Therefore, they were to greet not one along the road. Although there are several words that can define the word “greet”, a few are to acknowledge, call to, and exchange greetings. If we are to do Christ’s work and part of that is speaking with people, why would it have been so bad to talk to people along the way? Because there is a time and a place for conversations and when we are given a job to do, the time and the place is not during our jobs. Christ knows not only will the enemy try to distract and deceive, but He knows how easily distracted away from things we can get. Remember, Christ calls us His “sheep” and sheep are very social and therefore like to be in groups and will follow what the others do. They are also easily distracted. That’s why we must remain focused when God calls us to work for Him and not allow others to distract us away from our calling/job. I can definitely understand this because for a year and a half we had to put the ministry aside for health related reasons and to rest. We still continued to minister to people on occasion, but when the time came to start it back up again, I found it hard to become motivated. Although we needed the rest and still loved the ministry, once you are in rest mode, it can be hard to get moving again (just like the vacation analogy).
So what must we be alert for? We must remain alert to the tactics of the enemy to lure us away from our work and off the path. His objective? Spiritual suicide. How does this happen? It’s when we are able to be led off the path, sometimes in our “rest” mode where we aren’t as alert or after a victory. It can happen when we allow distraction to come into our lives and take precedence over reading the Word of God and praying, which means we slowly become spiritually weak from a lack of spiritual nourishment, our spiritual vision and hearing begins to deteriorate, we can’t think clearly, become confused easily and therefore unable to face even the smallest of situations. This is when the enemy will come in and try to isolate us, deceive us utilizing people or situations, and try to confuse us even in what we know the Lord wants us to do. He will push every button within us that is a weakness for us to see where he can be effective in hopes to draw us away, get us to lose hope and spiritually commit suicide…turning away from God altogether. We must always “test the spirits to see whether they are from God as it states in 1 John 4:1 when someone tells us something contrary to what we heard from God.
Take a look at your life at this time. Are you “resting” instead of moving? Have you been distracted away from reading the Word of God and praying by worldly things such as your cell phone, computer, Facebook (social media), money, worldly possessions, other people and situations going on around you (especially an uprising of dramatic situations in your life). If so, it’s time to stop what you’re doing and find your way back to God! Start replacing the distracting things and people which are junk food and nourishing yourself with prayer and Bible reading which is healthy food. Remember, what you put into yourself determines what you are.
Lord, I realize I have been “resting” when I should have been moving and have been distracted away from you. I am weak Lord and ask you to help me move once again. Help me to lift my hands in prayer and reading the Word so I can nourish myself once again with the healthy food of the Word. Because I am weak in flesh Lord, I humbly ask that you help nourish me until I can gain the strength to do it on my own. Remove the distractions from my life so I can see and hear you again. I ask it all in the name of Jesus…Amen!