Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried out to Pharaoh, saying, “Why are you dealing thus with your servants? 16 There is no straw given to your servants, and they say to us, ‘Make brick!’ And indeed your servants are beaten, but the fault is in your own people.”
But he said, “You are idle! Idle! Therefore you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ Therefore go now and work; for no straw shall be given you, yet you shall deliver the quota of bricks.” And the officers of the children of Israel saw that they were in trouble after it was said, “You shall not reduce any bricks from your daily quota.” Exodus 5:15-19
The children of Israel were in bondage to Pharaoh for four hundred years. They had worked hard as slaves in Egypt, and had been crying out to the Lord for deliverance from this bondage. God heard their cries and sent Moses to the deliver them from the Egyptians. Moses told Pharaoh that God’s people need to go to the wilderness to worship the Lord! Pharaoh took an offense to this. He assumed that the Jews must not be working hard enough and have too much idle time that they want to worship their God.
Whenever we choose to rest in God, the enemy is not happy with that decision. The goal of the enemy is to keep us burdened, busy, and stressed. The enemy has no rest, and he doesn’t want God’s people to rest either. Resting in God can be a spiritual warfare because the enemy wants us to be seen as restless, anxious, and driven people who are not in tune with their God! Rest is a gift from the Lord! Rest gives us the opportunity recognize the God who gave us work to do and to enjoy what we have worked to produce.
In the above passage, Pharaoh punished God’s people by giving them more work. Egyptians used to provide the straw for the bricks made by the Jews. But now they wanted the Israelites to find their own straw and still produce as many bricks as they did before. Pharaoh burdened and pressure them so much that they would not have time or energy to think about worshipping God! The enemy is still doing the same thing with God’s people. He throws all kinds of distractions to keep people exhausted, busy, and running around to ensure they don’t have time to rest nor do they have any daily devotional time with God.
Unfortunately, we have a culture that celebrates being busy. We perceive being busy as being successful and fulfilling God’s plan for our lives. However, that is not necessarily the case. Furthermore, the demands on people and families continues to increase. Everything including food, housing, cars, and education are becoming more expensive. Hence, the need to work harder and longer. We need to find the time to rest everyday and have a sabbath day of rest every week.
As God’s people, we can’t be swept by the winds of change and allow those things to pressure us to the point that we are enslaved to work and have no time to rest. The Lord does not keep us busy to the point of not having time for Him. There could be seasons that life is difficult, but as much as it depends on us, we have to make the effort to make time to rest physically and spiritually.
If you find it difficult to rest, suspend most of your activities for a couple of days to seek the Lord. Ask the Lord to show you how you can find time to rest. What needs to be cut off? Let Him show you the areas that your priorities need adjustment. Have you allowed the trends of the culture to dictate how you should live your life!? Are you able to get the sleep you need every night? If you are a caretaker for someone who needs you on a regular basis, pray that God would send workers to hold your arms up. The Lord has designed us with the need to rest! Allow Him to show you and teach you how to do it well. It takes faith to rest well! You can be an example to those around you that rest is possible and that it is a gift the Lord has made available for His beloved children!