Posted by: pmarkrobb | September 5, 2016

an end to a season of trying

Established as a national holiday in 1894, the first Monday in September honors the value that our society places on work.  God established the right and proper purpose of work (Gen. 2:15), and the wisdom book of Proverbs has much to say about its value (Proverbs 6:6-8, 6:10-12, 12:4, 12:11, 12:24, 13:4, 14:23, 18:9, 22:29).  Work is biblical.  Being diligent and honest in your work is a godly example to those you toil alongside.  Yet, context is also critical in the consideration of this good and right thing.  Listen closely to these words from the wisdom book…

Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist.
Proverbs 23:4 (ESV)

God designed us for work.  He designed us to care for His creation and provide for our families (1 Timothy 5:8).  Yet, He designed us first for relationship with Him and has called us to the work of the kingdom.  And into that, I hear the voice of scripture speak powerfully…

Cease striving and know that I am God;
Psalm 46:10a (NASB)

I particularly love the first two words of the New American Standard Bible translation of that verse.  It is one of only a few translations which departs from “Be still.”  I have come to know, experience and value those two words as well, but I find a fullness and richness when I read “Cease strivingquite like the first time you try on sunglasses with polarizing lenses (if you’ve ever had that experience, you’ll know just what I mean).

As we walk daily with Him and do the kingdom work He authored for us long before we were born (Ephesians 2:10), we would do well to live the words of the first half of Psalm 46:10.  We would be wise to stop trying to meet the day and its troubles in our own strength.  Hear clearly the permission God speaks in the words of the Psalmist.  This is what I hear Him saying … “Cease striving, my son (or daughter).  My strength is made perfect in your choice to stop trying to meet and make it through today (and each new one I gift you) with your own sweat and tears.  Let’s, instead, walk together.  I’ll pull the plow and you can know me more through the direct experience and observation of it.  I don’t want you walking a step behind.  No, take the other side of this very real yoke and walk with me.  See, hear, smell, taste and touch how it is all Me as you and I Am appear to be sharing the load.  Experience the true joy of receiving praise from others for ‘accomplishing’ something in My power.  Observe the oneness that is possible, especially in the experience of deep pain and loss.”

While it would seem fitting to leave you with the tidy truth of Cease striving on the occasion of Labor Day, it would be empty without its completing companion … knowing.  “Cease striving AND know,” the verse says (emphasis added).  In many ways, knowing is inseparable from ceasing.  When you know, it becomes more natural to cease.  When you cease, you know more deeply.

On this day which brings an unofficial end to the season of summer, may you be encouraged to also end a season of trying (in your own strength).  And in doing so, may you know Him more.  May you know His grace, mercy, forgiveness, patience, steadfastness, power and love more completely.  Work hard in the fields of the kingdom.  Cease striving and know that He is God.

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Responses

  1. Thanks for the reminder, that is indeed a word aptly spoken.

  2. 🙂

    “And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Ezekiel 36:27

    “Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declared the Sovereign LORD, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.”
    Ezekiel 36:23

    Cease……..Know……..Become……..Enjoy!

    Thanks!


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