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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

When Hard Labor Gives Way to Rest

Genesis 2: 1 - 3, Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. NKJV

In the sixth day of creation, God made man, and when He had finished His work, He entered into the seventh day. God now began to rest from all His labors. Even so, at some point during this time, the Lord took the man and his wife and put them in the garden. As we know, the garden was filled with every source of nourishment that they would need. However, today, I want to bring your attention to what God was doing when He began fellowship with His creation. He was in His rest, and it was time for Him to enjoy both man, whom He had created, and the work of His hands.

Adam was created with the "REST of GOD" on his life because he had the presence of God as well. They were in perfect harmony, and it pleased the Lord. Any and everything that man needed, God saw to it that it was provided. In other words, God made life very easy for mankind. Up to this point, mankind had no sorrow, and no hard-labor; woman didn't know what pain was, nor did she know what it meant to have her husband rule over her. However, all of this changed the moment they sinned against God's command and ate of the tree of knowledge.

There are many people around the world that profess to have faith in Christ. However, they are not aligning themselves with His commandments. Just like Adam and Eve, when we choose to disobey God's Word and will for our lives, we will grieve the Holy Spirit, and He will lift His presence from our lives. (Explanation in next verse) Likewise, the moment the first couple partook of sin, the presence and the consciousness of God lifted from them; for the first time, they knew what sin was like. They also knew what life would be like apart from the presence of God. 

Here is something that Satan and religion don't want you to know; however, God does, and He's greater than all else. You can confess faith in Christ and tell people you're born again, but if you sin against God's Word, His presence won't dwell with sin. You won't lose God's love or the saving power of the Holy Spirit, but you will lose His power to live victoriously because you have chosen to live in rebellion. It also means that you will have trouble, hardship, and be weighted down with heavy and grievous burdens. Sin produces death, and death produces failure, calamity, bondage, and heartbreak. However, the presence of the Lord produces life, joy, strength, hope, and freedom...just to mention a few. 

When God brought Israel out of Egypt, His presence went before them. (Exodus 33) His presence manifested as the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. He provided all that was needed in order to sustain their lives while He tested their obedience. Nevertheless, continually, the people of God chose to sin and dishonor Him, even though His presence was with them. There came a time when they pursued other gods and began to put the creation before the Creator. Consequently, His presence lifted, and every one of them, age twenty and older, perished in the wilderness. God didn't allow them to enter into His rest that He had promised to those who would love Him more than this world. 

Today, the promise of a rest from God for His people is still available. Even so, we must choose to live by faith and denounce unbelief or rebellion. When we begin to seek the Lord and His righteousness first, He will begin to release His presence upon our lives. We will know the moment this occurs because life will immediately become easier. Instead of everything breaking down and people always failing you, you will begin to experience success and favor. When God promises us His rest, we need to snap to attention and heed what He is saying to us. If we do, it will go well for us, and we will also possess the authority that God has promised to us in the New Testament. I want to leave you with a scripture that reveals why God's presence lifted off Israel in the wilderness. Have a blessed and restful day.

Hebrews 3: 7 - 14, Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, 'They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways. 'So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest.'" Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end... NKJV

Pressing to Enter into His Rest,
Pastor Asa Dockery

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