Bible Reading: Genesis 28: 11-22, Genesis 2: 1-3
Have you ever written an examination that felt so simple?
You were so glad and convinced that you knew all the answers and so, you got to work. Questions 2, 3 and 5 looked simpler than the rest so you did those ones neatly and perfectly. You then decided to go over your work and you read the questions again. Alas! You see the instruction which you had earlier glossed over, “Answer three questions in all. Questions 1 and 6 are compulsory.”
I can’t imagine how that would feel, especially if you have few minutes left to leave the examination hall.
If you asked Jacob questions about hard work and success before his encounter with God in our reading today, he might have said, “You’ve got to succeed by all means. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to succeed.” Jacob was big on succeeding by all means. He was on the front foot of being the best and getting the generational blessing even if it required collecting his brother’s birthright and deceiving his father. He was working tooth and nail and doing whatever he knew to do to be great. However, in his ‘work’ journey, he got to a place where he had to rest. His strength couldn’t suffice anymore. His body was tired. It was during this period that He had an encounter with God that changed everything about his life and work.
Maybe Jacob’s story is similar to yours. You are putting in all your efforts and working hard to succeed. You basically do all that you can do to be on top of the game. There is so much to do that the word ‘rest’ sounds like ‘lazy’ to you. Your schedule is filled up; busy days, sleepless nights, occupied moments and you are trying everything in your power to win by all means.
God doesn’t want you to succeed by all means. He wants you to succeed by His means. He wants you to work from a place of rest. You don’t have to be deceitful and fraudulent to succeed. You don’t have to burn out from toiling and trying to balance it all. Your strength will not suffice. Your body will get tired at some point. God promises you rest. He wants to teach you how to work. When Jacob encountered God, he received promises from God, he became aware of God’s presence and saw God’s involvement in His journey and work. God wants you to be aware of His presence and involvement in all that you do. God is calling you to have a retreat with Him and take a rest:
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
God didn’t intend work to be a necessary evil or a heavy burden. He created all man needed before creating man. Work was not a punishment for man. You don’t have to labour and toil all day in vain. You need not break under the burden and pressure of work and all that you are expected to do. In Psalm 127:1, David shared an amazing secret of work with us:
If it is not the Lord who builds a house, the builders are wasting their time. (ERV)
If God’s grace doesn’t help the builders, they will labour in vain to build a house (TPT).
In other words, before you advance to work, retreat with God and allow God work through you. Let Him be the one working through you. Let Him do the building through you so that all your efforts will count.
So, what work are you doing today? Building your career? Working a job? Putting your efforts into studying? Building a home or raising your children? God wants you to believe His promises over you. He wants you to sense His presence with you. He wants you to know He is involved in your work and that your work is not all about you. He wants to work through you and build His kingdom on the earth through the works of your hands. He wants you to excel in your career. He wants you to prosper in your business. He wants to bless your children. He wants all you do to succeed so that people will glorify Him through you. He wants to make you an eternal excellency on the earth but He needs you to rest and let go of what is in your hands to Him. Would you let go of what’s in your hands to God today? Would you heed to His call today? He wants to give you real rest.
Something To Pray:
I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised. Gen. 28:15b.
Would you pray today for an awareness of God’s presence and promises that supercedes the pressure of your work and all that life expects of you? Pray for grace to rest in Him and trust His workings in your life.
Mrs. Aluko volunteers with the Bible Engagement team at Sycamore