Christmas and New Year’s was pretty hectic for me, as I’m sure it was for most of you folks out there. Part of my “break” involved going to my grandma’s for a few days and helping her decorate for the family gathering. Two things I always try to keep with me when I go away from home are my favorite Bible (NIV w/ a flexible cover and mini concordance in the back) and my prayer journal.
Somewhere around New Year’s, I misplaced both of them. I was not happy.
I looked in all the usual places, hoping they would turn up. Eventually, I just got back into the swing of life and decided that they would jut turn up someday (hopefully). Finally, one day I decided to clean out the backpack under my desk as part of a slow-but-steady effort to clean and organize my room. Lo and behold, there they were, along with pajamas and other clothing I had been wondering about.
Apparently when I packed for Grandma’s, I forgot to unpack.
It reminded me of when the Israelites rediscovered the Mosaic Law in the temple during its restoration. The temple was in ruins. Josiah was on the throne and had commissioned Hilkiah to oversee the repairs. Hilkiah finds the Word of the Lord hiding amidst the rubble and immediately told the king who immediately instituted reforms throughout the land. Israel returned to righteousness… for a time. (2 Kings 22)
I’ve heard many times how this story parallels the story of Jesus as boy being “lost” in the temple after the Passover feast. Post-celebration, his mother and Joseph packed up and left with the caravan. They were a few days out before they realized that Jesus wasn’t with them. When they got back to Jerusalem, they found Him listening and speaking in the temple with everyone amazed at His wisdom. (Luke 2:40-52)
Again, the Word was lost–and found–right where it was left.
In the first instance, the Word was lost because the city was under attack. People were running for their lives, not guarding the temple. In the second, the Word was lost because preoccupied parents were running around with their checklist, busy and frantic so as not to miss the caravan that would help ensure their safety during the journey.
I once heard a pastor say that a man told him that every time the devil got in his face, the pastor just knocked him right down. Everything the devil dealt him, he threw right back in his face. The pastor felt pretty good about this word from the Lord. The man continued:
So then he [the devil] got behind you and he pushed. “You don’t have time to rest. You can fit in one more speaking engagement. Stay after and attend this meeting. Keep going! There are people out there that need you!” Push! Push! Push!
I say all that to say this: Godly urgency is a good thing. If God makes you desperate for Him, gives you a drive to do His work, encourages you to keep going when you feel like you have nothing left, then good. Follow His directives. But remember that God will never contradict His written Word.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” –Exodus 20:8
God takes 4 verses in this chapter to tell us to rest and why. If you aren’t able to take a full day of rest each week, then take time each day to rest in the Lord and enjoy His fellowship. Don’t let your precious things get lost in the scramble. If that pastor hadn’t received that word, he may well have ended up as just another “fallen from grace” story we see so often in our mega-churches these days. Keep holy things things holy.