TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL (Saturday 24th July 2021)
“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 205TH DAY OF OUR YEAR OF HIGHER HEIGHTS!
This year alone, God has been our shelter for 205. Glory to His great name! He does not just shelter form storms, visible and invisible, He also shelters from evil and the arrows or plans of the wicked, visible and invisible. His manifestation on Earth as Jesus Christ, remains His greatest manifestation to shelter us eternally.
Eternally, we are sheltered from so many things including approaching judgments. But being sheltered from approaching judgments is usually predicated upon one’s repentance. It is those who have repented and have been converted that will receive times of refreshing from Him. The Bible says;
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before,” Acts 3:19-20 NKJV
When we repent and get converted we enter into our rest in Christ. Entering into God’s rest have been His redemptive goal since mankind left the garden of Eden. It is a rest from days of adversity, our works, or labors. God hide this mystery in so many things He asked Israel the practice. One of it is the Sabbath.
Today, we will be revisiting living truths buried in the Sabbath to uncover what the LORD hide in there for us.
Based on historic and prophetic reasons, God gave Israel specific instructions of what to do and what not to do as He used Moses to carve out the new nation from the initial 70 men that went into Egypt. He gave them so many things to observe. The Sabbath was one of them!
There are two basic sets of reasons to this one practice. The historic reason and the prophetic reason. The historic reason has to do with the Jews been slaves in Egypt who worked 24 hours a day and seven days a week, without rest.
The Bible made it clear that they carried on like that for over four hundreds years, resulting in a decades of a culture of NO RESTING in life.
AND THE HUMAN BODY WAS NOT BUILT TO FUNCTION THAT WAY.
A restless life style was not good for anyone’s health, hence instructing that they do nothing but rest on the seventh. He sighted how He rested on the seventh day as an example for them to follow. 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.
By the stiff penalties attached, God was also carving a path for the execution of His redemption plan for mankind, so people were severely punished for not resting on the seventh day in other not to distort or defeat the plan.
The nation finally grew 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. Don’t forget the Bible calls them the Church in the wilderness. But the prophetic reason is different.
God created the earth for six days and rested on the seventh day, making seven a number of completion, maturity, and divine rest. Actually, 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 live out a prophetic message behind a historic act. And if you look at it in the eyes of redemption, Christ was actually the reason for the law. Don’t forget the law was a tutor to bring Israel to Christ but they reduced it to an empty religious pact.
So when Christ, the LORD of the Sabbath, finally came calling, they rejected His call and defeated the redemptive and prophetic purpose of the Sabbath for their lives. Jesus had presented the redemptive purpose for the generational law when He said to them;
“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, THEY NEVER CAME. HENCE THE LAW WAS NOT FULFILLED IN THEIR LIVES.
But 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.
So 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 our brethren, 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.
We are to appear before God corporately to worship in songs of praise, and thanksgiving, with an offering in our hands, reflecting on His goodness, then, receive sound spiritual food from our Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!
Now let’s go deeper; 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, you have fulfilled the redemptive purpose of the law of the Sabbath and have kept 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 with Christ when they die.
The punishment for not keeping the Sabbath is no longer a stoning to death for not keeping a law, but an eternal consequence of not accepting Jesus Christ as your LORD and personal savior.
REJECTING CHRIST, HIS WILL AND HIS WAYS, IS REJECTING GOD’S SABBATH FOR YOUR LIFE.
What lesson can we draw from all these? Like some of the Jews rejected the law of the Sabbath when it was stipulated, and suffered the consequences, so many are rejecting the will and ways of the LORD and are suffering the consequences.
Following God sheepishly is the best thing that can ever happen to any of us.
If Israel had followed God sheepishly, even after being told they were His sheep and He their Shepherd, 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 that were withheld would not have being missed.
If they had known the prophetic reasons for the law of the Sabbath and embraced it with all their hearts, they would have dropped the shadow and embrace the substance, Jesus Christ. Yes, the shadow would have given way for the substance and the Day given way to the Person, resulting in great glory.
But the reverse was the case. Child of God, your redemption can only 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’s 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 unredeemable 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!
Friend, God sent this word this morning to ask that you to let Him be your guide in life because 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. 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 meditation, and adjust your Christian life to align with the message therein, 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