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Work Should Not Overrun Your Time With God (Exodus 16:23)

Updated: Dec 26, 2019

Sermon on Sunday 18 August 2019 by Brother Gaius

Putting God as priority in your life will give you energy for other things you want to do.

In Exodus, after the Israelites left Egypt and were in the desert, they grumbled as they had little food. Moses and Aaron prayed to God and the people were blessed with food. Moses told the Israelites how to gather the manna and how to treat the Sabbath.


Exodus 16:23 - He said to them, "This is what the Lord has commanded: 'Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.'"

About Work

Work is, first and foremost, important. Genesis 1:1 - In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. God created the world in six days. We are created to work. God gives us energy to do work. There is a purpose to fulfill. Let us not have a mindset of comparing the work that we do with what others do. Society has made our occupations a measure of social status. Let us not use the blessing of God to beat ourselves up, but rather glorify Him.

Genesis 2:15 - The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. Adam was created to work. But why did work become a torture? Because of sin. Genesis 3:19 - By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread. Because of sin, work became difficult and torturous. Giving birth has become a painful process as well. Nonetheless, we still work to fulfill God's purpose in our lives.

Colossians 3:23-24 - Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

God does not want us to be lazy. In the parable of the talents, the servant who buried the talents in the ground was chided for being lazy (Matthew 25:26). Check ourselves. When we do work, it should be to please God and not to please man.

Being Idle

2 Thessalonians 3:6-8 - In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, not did we eat anyone's food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, labouring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.

2 Thessalonians 3:9-10 - We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we have you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."

We have to occupy ourselves. When Jesus comes into our lives, we keep it busy for Him. When we become idle, we become busybodies. 2 Thessalonians 3:11-12 - We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.

2 Thessalonians 3:13 - And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.

The Sabbath

One of the ten commandments: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (Exodus 20:8). 

Exodus 20:9 and Deuteronomy 5:13 - Six days you shall labour, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work. Genesis 2:2 - And on the seventh day God finished His work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done.


God finished His work. He did not leave it half done. He finished the work before He rested.

Get the order of things right. Complete your work before taking your rest. Of course for longer pieces of work which extends several months, pace yourselves.

Being Helpful - How to Rest?

The Pharisees questioned Jesus for healing a man (considered work) on the Sabbath. Jesus then asked the Pharisees whether it was right to do good or to do evil. Let us not take one part of the law out of context and use it to make things hard for others. Mark 3:4 - Then He said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they kept silent. 

Let us come back to the heart of the Father. God wants us to help. The Sabbath is made for man and not man for the Sabbath. Let us not be legalistic.


Being Holy

Genesis 2:3 - So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all His work that He had done in creation. Are our rest days holy? When God rests, it is because He made the day holy. 

Exodus 20:8 - Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Deuteronomy 5:12 - Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 

Leviticus 23:3 - On the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation.

The phrase "solemn rest" means complete rest. Do you truly come to a complete rest in the Lord? 

Exodus 16:23 - He said to them, "This is what the Lord has commanded: 'Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.'"

As we come to rest, let us put God in the centre. Let us walk out a holy life. This is what God wants to see. We are not holy only on Sunday, but everyday. Worship is our holy and living sacrifice.

Romans 12:1-2 - Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind. The apostle Paul reminds us not to conform to the patterns of the world, because God has a different way of working.

Harmony of Law and Grace

Balancing is not easy. Balancing work and life typically means aiming to spend the same amount of time in business life versus personal life. There is little overlap and often results in a frustrated person. 

Let's consider the word "harmony" instead. For someone who has work-life harmony, business life and personal life have a strong overlap. God and our lives are together. They are not separated. Visualise one big circle which represents God. God is everything. And within, inside, that large circle, is our work. The more time we spend with God, the less time we need to take care of other things because God has taken care of those things. If you only rely on your human wisdom, you run out of time to do everything. If we learn to rest, we will not have a complaining or frustrated heart.  

The law is a mirror showing which parts of your life is wrong. Grace allows you to change those wrong parts.  

Let us get our priorities right, let us trust Him. Then we can be joyful always (1 Thessalonians 5:16). 

Matthew 5:17 - Do not think that I have come to abolish the law of the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 

Hebrews 4:1-7 - Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "So I declared on oath in my anger, 'they shall never enter my rest.'" And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: "And on the seventh day God rested from all his work." And again in the passage above he says, "They shall never enter my rest." It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." 

Hebrews 4:10-11 - For whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.

Let us learn from the experience of the Israelites. They complained in the desert even though they were free from slavery. We have already entered the promised land. Let us give Him the glory. Even at rest, we have to continue to be helpful, be holy, and keep God at the centre. Rest at work is always a harmony. It is a beautiful harmony between us and the Lord. 

Jesus said "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30).

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