Read: Judges 3.1-11 (NRSV)
Israel was not faithful to God and they end up as captives. They prayed for a deliverer and God sent them Othniel as a judge to lead them back in faithfulness. With their faith restored and following their leader, they won their freedom and had rest for forty years. I hope you are beginning to see that forty is a frequent theme in the faith story. Forty years is plenty of time to grow closer or stray from God. Forty days is a time to create a new habit or go deeper into poor ones.
Learning to keep Sabbath rest, devote time to prayer and study, be intentional about our relationships and conversations are all places for good spiritual habits. Work is necessary and can even be good for us. Getting fair pay for the labor you give is even better, but rest is vital to our body’s growth and especially our spiritual growth.
Did you know if you are making healthy choices with your diet, get basic physical action, and have a great attitude about your life, a lack of sleep will negatively affect all the above areas? It should go without saying that those who rest all the time are out of balance as well. We do not have to be as socially and as politically ‘connected’ as society and technology suggest, but we do need to be both physically working and spiritually balanced.
Resting in God’s way of assuring that we recover from work and are prepared for more work. If your spiritual rest is healthy, I am guessing you know some who struggle with being too busy, worried, running around trying to order everyone and everything. In our family, we call that being “rabbity” after the Rabbit character in the Winnie-the-Pooh series. Finding rest is making time for God to be fully in control.
Action Plan: What could you do every forty days as a spiritual check-up? Start by tracking how much your sleep or rest for a week. A day prayer retreat is more fun than flossing, but both are essential.
Prayer: O God, guide my steps that I may work with You, and find my way back home when I have strayed. Amen.