|Posted on May 11, 2018 at 10:35 AM|
Photo by David Marcu from Freely Photos.
Main passage: Matthew 11:15-30
Key Verse: Isaiah 40:31 NKJV
"But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint."
My day started out rough from the time my feet hit the floor. I had deadlines to meet, so I began my work while my hubby got ready for work. Several times, my progress was interrupted by him, texts, and phone calls from sales people. Since I had an early afternoon meeting, I thought I could get a water workout in to soothe painful muscles from the previous day’s garden work. Teens with no regard for anyone else decided to splash and goof around near me, a lap swimmer decided to invoke her right to swim just outside the lane line where I was—I tried to stay out of other people’s way-- while I exercised, and I tried to not create too much wave for some of the older adults nearby. I thought to myself, “I don’t want to have to totally redo my hair. All I want to do is a touch up before my meeting.” My little hot air brush did it’s best to tame wildly drenched locks into a not-so-nice ‘do. Traffic was nasty. I began to think that being social was overrated. "Maybe living out in the middle of nowhere would be better", I muttered to God. I really struggled with the attitudes and behavior of people. It drained me of the bit of energy I had from the start. Later in the day, A nasty migraine swept in like a storm. I crashed on the couch at the end of my day exhausted and frustrated.
What’s the Deal?
Today’s world is moving at a phenomenal pace. Christians are swept up in its rapids feeling like the whirlpool will suck them down. It doesn’t help that we swim against the currents of culture, either. We add church activities into our crazy mix with even less time and less sleep. Honestly, we are very tired. Beat. Worn out. I remember , when my pastor-husband led a church in renewal, saying to God, “I’m just SO tired!” Is this what the Christian life is all about? Jesus said that He came to give us life more abundantly (John 10:10). What does that mean for us? If it means more in my schedule, how am I supposed to handle it when I can’t handle what I already have? How can I manage my frustration with unbelievers whose attitudes and behavior pressure me to go against the life God calls me to live?
In our passage, Jesus proclaims judgment on unbelieving Israel. His teachings and miracles were a testament to His deity status as the Messiah. Yet, He was ridiculed for eating with tax collectors and sinners, being called a glutton and winebibber (Mark 2:15-17). They even had the audacity to call Him a demon (Mark 3:20-27). Yet they should have known better because of the very Word of God that was given them through Moses and the prophets. They didn’t get it. Jesus knew they never would. If He would have taught and worked miracles in Sodom, those pagans likely would have believed. It would be far worse for the Israelites who should have known better than being toasted by fire from the sky on Sodom. What happened? In 70 AD, Israel revolted against Rome. The Romans destroyed the Temple as they ravaged and killed a large number of Jews. Even King Herod ran with his group out into the desert overlooking the Dead Sea to build the fortress of Masada, only to be massacred like the rest (Jewish Virtual Library). Which is better: being instantly toasted or being massacred?
Jesus turned the message to those believing Jews who were oppressed by the ritual and harsh rules by their own religious leaders. He offered them true rest. His requirements were simple: accept Him for who He is, and love Him by obeying His teachings.
In Isaiah 40:31, Israel is brought out of exile in Babylon to Jerusalem. They served their time of punishment by God. He loved them with an everlasting love. If you look at verses 27-31, the context helps us see God’s power and majesty. Our God who is never weary or faint will be our strength; He will carry us when we cannot carry ourselves.
Christians do swim against the tide of our culture when they follow Christ. This is not easy by itself. We are often mocked when we don’t do what many of the non-Christians do. Added on to this stress are our work, family, and church responsibilities. As our schedules fill up and we feel beaten down, it is difficult for us to remember to take our problems to God. When we look at Jesus’ life in our passage, we may miss how Jesus and His disciples often did not have time to eat when Jesus taught and worked miracles. In the midst of a grueling workday, Jesus dealt with some very interesting personalities who came to His ministry with the goal to cause problems. His life on earth wasn't any eaiser than ours.
I really needed to see these passages when I was going through that rough day. Interestingly, I already had these passages scheduled for this study! As I read through them, I really appreciated what Jesus went through on this earth and prayed for Him to carry me through rough days ahead. He calls us to come to Him for rest. Isaiah 40:31 says that God will carry us on eagle’s wings so that we will not grow weary or faint. We can always come to Him in prayer about what causes us to crash in sheer exhaustion. There is nothing He can’t handle for us. We simply need to ask for His help.
The next time you feel like you are going to crash and burn, utterly exhausted from the daily grind working with interesting personalities who give you headaches, take your day to Jesus in prayer. He fully understands what you are going through. Take notice as He answers your prayers. He will often quell a situation that would normally run out of control. At times, He will provide rest in the middle of your day in a number of ways or give you an extra surge of energy to push through your work day. Give Him the praise and glory for what He does as He goes on before you.
How have you seen God intervene in your workday when it could have gone serious wrong? I would love to hear your story in the comments below. May God bless you!
Jewish Virtual Library
NKJV Study Bible Copyright ©1997, 2007 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Halley's Bible Handbook Notes on Matthew 11:25-30
Halley's Bible Handbook with the New International Version, Copyright © 2000 by Halley's Bible Handbook, Inc.