We live in a world where everything and everyone is in a hurry. We have fast food, fast cars, fast conversations and just about anything else we can think of, we do so in a hurry. We have even managed to shorten the English language so we can text more quickly. For instance, I remember the first microwave my family had. We purchased it from Sears and it was almost bigger than our kitchen! The thing was massive. But, you could warm up a hot dog in a matter of seconds! One time I left one in there for a long time just to see what would happen. It exploded. All over the inside of the microwave was blown up pieces of processed meat products. My mother was not happy.
We are a society that is constantly looking for the fastest way to the end possible. We want it quickly, we want it done quickly and we want to arrive quickly. We are always in a hurry to go somewhere or do something. We rush into everything and we try to rush out of everything as well. I know this truth all too well.
We have this paperwork that I thought needed to be filled out and filed with the town planning commission by the end of the business day today. I rushed to get it done and I did get it done. But then, this morning things just didn’t seem to be going our way. The filing of this paperwork will also cost the business about $400 and that is a large chunk of money coming out of our account. I realized while I was thinking about all this paperwork and the money that went with it, that I was stressing out. I was in a hurry and for what purpose? I was trying to get to where I thought we needed to be as quickly as I could, so I began to pray. I prayed and asked the Lord to show me what to do, what direction I needed to take. He told me to slow down, this journey is a walk, not a race.
The other day I became so overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done with the business that I almost lost control. I could tell my patience was wearing thin and everyone and everything was getting on my nerves. I prayed to the Lord and asked for His help. The last thing I wanted to do was get in my flesh and strike out at someone. So I asked the Lord to calm my heart. It was then that I realized it had been weeks since I had taken any time to rest. I have been running a hundred miles an hour, seven days a week. Sooner or later this old gal was going to end up like that poor hot dog I left in the microwave too long. I was going to explode if I did not press the stop button. It was then that the Lord started to speak to me about the importance of taking one day a week or so to unplug and unwind.
“And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, ‘This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.’ For all the people wept as they had heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, ‘Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, ‘Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.” And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.” Nehemiah 8:9-12
We left the people of Israel lifting up and exalting the Lord their God and His Word. In our last blog together we talked about the importance of God’s word in our lives and how imperitive it is that we make time for it in our daily lives. Now, in this next part we see Nehemiah and Ezra telling the people to make time for His Presence as well. Nehemiah tells the people to set aside a day and make it holy to the Lord their God. They are encouraged to set aside a day for the purpose of enjoying the presence and the provision of the Lord their God. If we do not make a point to set aside a day each week to rest and get renewed by His presence then we will explode just like my hot dog did. We need to slow down and remember that we are walking a journey, not racing a marathon. Time is only a limit to us when we try to rush through the moments of our day’s. When we get in a hurry, when we try to rush ahead we make time our enemy. God has given us time for a reminder of how precious this life on earth is, and how precious our time with Him is. Don’t hurry through it, set aside a day for Him and Him only. Even God rested on the seventh day.
Take a day to rest from all your labors, and unplug from all the world around you. If you have to plan a day ahead of time to take a day trip somewhere, then do it. Turn off your phone, unplug the social media and set aside that day for you and your Lord. I think we are so afraid to unplug from this world because we might miss something. Is anything so terrible going to happen that you can’t find out a few hours later? We have to make this day holy, and we have to unplug.
This day is also not a day of sorrows. This is not a day to reflect on how undeserving you are of all God’s goodness. Let’s face it, we all need more than one day a week to reflect on how undeserving we truly are! I need years, not just a day! This day that we set aside needs to be a day of rejoicing. A day that is filled with thanksgiving and praise for all that God has done for us. This day is to be filled with the joy of His presence and to celebrate the abundance of His mercy and provision for you.
Nehemiah encourages the people in verse 10 to eat, drink and be merry on this day. He encourages them to remember those who do not have and give to them out of their abundance. Make this day a day of rejoicing by giving back some of what He has given you. One of the things that we are looking into for our business is a Client Appreciation Day. We want to thank and give back to all our clients who have faithfully stood by us from the beginning. We want to feed them, fellowship with them and tell them of the great work that God is doing in our lives through this business. God is building an amazing testimony in you through the work He is doing on your journey, share it with someone, encourage someone by telling them how He led you thus far.
Nehemiah goes on to tell us that “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” (vs. 10) Our joy, our hope, and the very journey we are on is all because God has set our feet upon this road. This day we must set aside will bring joy to your heart and give you strength to keep pressing forward. There is joy in His presence. The strength we will need to keep going and to keep moving forward is found in these days when we can unplug and be in His presence. Set aside this day to refuel because the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Lastly, we need to set aside this day to be quiet. It is hard to hear someone talking to you when the noise around you drowns them out. The Levites tell the people in verse 11 to “Be quiet”. I have been running so fast that I haven’t been able to stop and listen for the voice of my Lord. He was trying to tell me to slow down but the sound of my feet running on the pavement was too loud for me to hear His still small voice. We must slow down and be quiet so that we can hear the still small voice of our Lord leading us and guiding us to the next steps on our journey. The only one who is in a hurry is you. Slow down, take time for the Lord your God and regain strength for the journey ahead in His joyous presence. Be quiet, unplug, and let His still small voice rejuvenate you for the journey yet to come. When your day’s start to rush and time seems to be your enemy, put on the brakes before you explode and rejoice in the joy of His presence. The only one in a hurry is you. May the Lord Jesus Christ encourage you and strengthen you to make a day holy to Him. Amen and Amen