“Is not the Lord your God with you? And has He not given you rest on every side?...Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God. Therefore arise and build the sanctuary of the Lord God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the holy articles of God into the house that is to be built for the name of the Lord.” 1 Chronicles 22:18-19
Have you ever taken the time to think about what God purpose times of rest for in our lives? That is the question answered in the verses above. The answer is, seeking Him and doing His work. We would like to think that God desires for us to take a vacation or retire early, but rather God knows our hearts and our ability to stray away from Him the moment we have even a small chance to let our guard down and live within our selfish free will.
The people of Israel were not any different. During their upcoming time of peace when Solomon was to reign, God knew they needed to have a monumental task before them to keep their eyes fixed on Him so they would not stray and follow other gods. The task, building a house for the Lord and for the king, a 20 year commitment for the entire nation which kept them completely focused and kept their hearts and souls before the Lord each day.
Our lives here on earth are short, and the reality of life is that most of our time as a committed follower of Christ is spend going from one battle to the next. Times of rest do come in between those battles but that doesn't mean we rest from the purposes of the Lord when we are not in the heat of war. We are only on leave from the service per se, not discharged. Our next call of duty out of this time of rest can happen when we least expect it, and it usually does. Warfare against us, our family, our church, our nation, or our world is only one simple request from the Lord away and we must keep our hearts and souls fixed on the Lord so we do not miss His call to duty or are not out of shape and unequipped to fight.
The enemy would like us to think that rest from the work of the Lord, a complete break away from being an active soldier, is our right and something we deserve from the Lord as a reward for our service. Yet, as many good soldiers would tell you, you do not cease being an active and ready soldier until your duty to the military has finished and you are either discharged or you complete your service and retire. If we are to be dedicated soldiers for the Lord and His purposes, then we cannot continue to live seeking more for the restful times between the battles so we can pursue our own interests and restful activities. Rather we need to continue in seeking the Lord within the battles and within the times of rest we have been given so our hearts and souls do not lose focus and we do not become useless as soldiers of the Lord.
Today, whether you are in the heat of the battle or you are experiencing a time of rest, do not forget that you are still on active duty if you call Jesus your Lord. He is to be your focus and He has the right to call you up or call you out as He sees fit. But wherever you are found, you are still His and you are still to seek Him and serve Him. Living for the Lord is not the life of ease and personal fulfillment, yet it is one that is filled with indescribable joy and promised victories over the enemy.
I have to admit when those weary days set in the last thing I want to think about is picking up my sword so I can fight yet another day. But I have made the choice to serve God as He calls and so whether I feel like fighting or not, my feelings are not the determining factors in how I choose to live the day before me. My service was a decision from the day I enlisted and it will continue until they day my enlistment comes to an end. What about you? Are you trying to work out a way you can serve in God's army as a contractor - taking only the missions you prefer to fight in and leaving the rest so you can pursue your own desires. Or, are you fully committed to the cause of the Lord and ready to accept whatever orders are sent your way, in rest and in the battle?