TODAY’S DEVOTION (Friday 17th July 2020)
“Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you! O Israel, if you will listen to Me! There shall be no foreign god among you; nor shall you worship any foreign god.
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
“But My people would not heed My voice, and Israel would have none of Me. So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, to walk in their own counsels. Psalms 81:8-12 NKJV
WELCOME TO THE 197th DAY OF OUR YEAR OF REJOICING
We are in the days of knowing all of God’s written will and ways for our lives. The Bible makes it clear that every mystery will be revealed and most of the mysteries are trapped in the things God asked the nation of Israel to practice in their day.
One of those practices that holds part of the strongest mystery of our redemption is the practice of the Sabbath. That is why I want us to begin today’s devotional with some prophetic and practical truths on the Sabbath.
Let us begin from where it all started. You see, the Sabbath was a special day in the national life of the nation of Israel. I will not go into many details. But there were two reason for the Sabbath – the historic and the prophetic.
Now, let us begin with the historic reason.
The Jews were slaves in Egypt who worked 24 hours a day and seven days a week without rest. They carried on like that for hundreds of years resulting in a no-rest lifestyle. They never knew what rest was all about. But a restless lifestyle was not good for anyone’s health, hence when GOD delivered them from slavery, He instructed that they do nothing but rest on the seventh day.
Sadly, because they were a stubborn set of people; many could not catch the revelation behind the instruction; hence the instruction was made a law with stiff penalties attached. It became the law of the sabbath.
That brings us to the prophetic reason behind the practice. The prophetic reason is what so many today are yet to come to terms with.
Many argue with it, hence believing so many things about the Seventh day. Some believe that all who do not go to Church on Saturday will go to hell. But all who snatch other people’s husbands, live in adultery, fornication or co-habitation, fight in church for money matters, or continue in other wicked ways will make Heaven.
They are like pharisees who are strict on the application of the law instead of lining up with God’s prophetic word for their salvation. The Bible says they rejected the counsel of the LORD for their lives and went to establish their own righteousness.
PERMIT ME TO ASK, WHICH IS THE HEAVIER SIN IF NOT GOING TO CHURCH ON SATURDAY WAS A SIN?
God was carving a path for the execution of His redemption plan for mankind, so those who broke the law were severely punished for not resting on the seventh day. Breaking the law was distorting the plan hence the stiff penalty on defaulters.
The nation would later grow to recognize the seventh day as a day of resting and reflecting on God’s goodness. That was how it became a day of worship for them under the law. Do not forget the Bible calls them the Church in the wilderness.
Now, let us dig deeper into this prophetic reason.
You see, God created the earth for six days and rested on the seventh day making seven the number of completions, maturity, and divine rest. Do not forget, God speaks in numbers. The full prophetic message contained in the seventh day can only be written in a book not a devotional like this.
God’s will for Israel was not for them to practice a law but be His script for His redemptive plan for humanity. That is the prophetic message behind the historic act.
And if you look at it in the eyes of redemption, Christ was the reason for the law and for all done in that dispensation. Do not forget, the law was a tutor to bring Israel and all of us to Christ, but like humans have always done, they reduced the law, including the law of the Sabbath to an empty religious act.
So, when Christ, the LORD of the Sabbath finally came, calling, they rejected His call and defeated the redemptive and prophetic purpose of GOD buried in the Sabbath for us. Jesus had presented the redemptive purpose for that generational law (the law of the Sabbath), when He said,
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV.
SADLY, THE ISRAELITES NEVER CAME. HENCE THE LAW WAS NOT FULFILLED IN THEIR LIVES.
But as many as will come, the prophetic purpose buried in that law will be fulfilled in their lives. If you are looking for who this law has been fulfilled in his life, do not look far. I am one and all God has placed under me are some of them. There are others across the nations of the earth under many gracious servants of GOD.
But it all started in the early Church.
You see, when men like Paul were born into the kingdom, God took them behind the scenes of all He told Israel to do and they understood that Christ was the reason for the Sabbath hence making the first day of the week – the day of the resurrection of Christ – the day of worship for the New Testament Church.
But salvation is still not about the day of worship. It is about the person we worship. However, when we assembly on the first day of the week to worship, we have really assembled to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. That is why there ought to be true Church experience, manifesting in signs, wonders, and miracles each them we gather.
Though some of us like the Seventh Day Adventist still hold on to the Jewish law, the body of Christ in general grew to accept Sunday, the first day of the week – the day of Christ’s resurrection – as the day of corporate worship, building on the foundation that was laid by Paul the apostle. But like I said, that no longer matter. It is not about the day of worship but the person we worship.
But if we appear before God corporately at any day, we are to appear before Him to worship in songs of praise and thanksgiving, with an offering in our hands if we have, then reflect on His goodness and mercies. Hallelujah!
TIME TO SHAKE OFF FROM THE SHACKLES OF RELIGION!
Though it may be difficult for you, especially if the stronghold has been built in your mind for year or you are benefiting one way or the other from the seventh days thing, you must humble yourself and agree with the prophecies of the Bible on the Sabbath.
According to the prophecies of the Bible, the Sabbath in the Old Testament was a Day but in the New Testament the Sabbath became a person. That person is Jesus Christ! When you accept Him into your life, and forsake your old ways, you have fulfilled the Sabbath. If you continue your new life, not following the flesh but the Spirit, you are keeping the Sabbath.
In other words, all those who have not accepted Him as LORD and savior are yet to keep the Sabbath and stand the risk of not having eternal rest when they die. The have not entered their Sabbath yet, hence will not Rest in Peace when they die.
For them, it will not be a punishment for not keeping a law but a consequence of not accepting God’s redemption plan for their lives – not accepting Jesus Christ as God’s Sabbath from eternal death.
What lesson can we draw from all these?
Following God sheepishly is the best thing that can ever happen to us. If Israel had followed Him sheepishly without arguments, it would have been wonderful when Christ came in the flesh. There would have been no destruction of Jerusalem 40 years after His death, and many other blessings would not have been missed.
If they had known what the Sabbath meant and embraced it with all their hearts, they would have dropped the law and accepted the redemptive purpose of God buried in the law of the sabbath – Jesus Christ Jesus. They would have walked away from the shadow and accepted the substance.
THAT WOULD HAVE COLLAPSED THE ENTIRE SYSTEM OF SHADOWS AND SYMBOLS INTO THE SUBSTANCE. BUT THEY MISSED IT.
Your redemption will come when you follow God sheepishly. A major highlight in our devotional text today says; “But My people would not heed My voice, and Israel would have none of Me. So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, to walk in their own counsels.”
It is dangerous for GOD to give a man over to his own stubborn heart. It is very risky for God to allow us to walk in our own counsels. That is exactly what people who do not know how to follow God sheepishly suffer.
Many are in marital pains and others in Irredeemable situations today because God gave them over to their stubborn hearts. They could not follow Him sheepishly hence allowed to walk in their own counsels.
People have walked in their own counsels and forfeited great blessings. Others have walked in their own counsels and walked into crisis. The list is endless! God sent this word this morning to ask that you to let Him be your guide in life. It pays to follow the LORD sheepishly.
Remember, He is the shepherd, we are the sheep. He said His sheep hear His voice, the voice of stranger they will not follow.
God does not want us to even follow our own voices. They are part of the voice of a stranger. David made it clear that if He be our shepherd we shall not want. But if we be our shepherd, we shall want. That is why the areas of wants in our lives are always the areas we have not allowed Him to play the role of a shepherd.
If you make this DEVOTIONAL your constant meditation, and adjust your Christian life to align with the message buried in it, you will move from where you are to where God wants you to be!
LET THIS SCRIPTURE BE AN ADDITIONAL MEDITATION FOR YOU TODAY,
“Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways! I would soon subdue their enemies, and turn My hand against their adversaries.
“The haters of the Lord would pretend submission to Him, but their fate would endure forever. He would have fed them also with the finest of wheat; and with honey from the rock I would have satisfied you.” Psalms 81:13-16 NKJV