On a Saturday morning, I find myself sleeping in and spending more time in the Word. It is certainly a time of refreshment for me—the sleep and the time with God. We need rest. We need God.
Today’s verse speaks about how God restores and revives. The actual word translates to mean restore, refresh, renew, or revive. When you take a closer look, the Hebrew word “shub” means to turn back or return. This return is to a state you were once in, and this return is not from an occasional nap or reading the daily verse of the day. Shub points to a revival of your life, your strength, your energy. This is something God offers you daily, but it cannot happen if we are not staying connected and being mindful of His presence every day as we go through our day.
If you are feeling tired or drained or if you would like to sleep the next week of your life away, perhaps it is a good time to for shub, to turn back to Him and allow Him to pour into you. What is needed for shub? You simply return. Be intentional about prayer and reading your Bible. As you lean into Him in prayer, as you dig deeper into His Word, you will be restored and revived. Remember this shub isn’t a cat nap that gets you to finish your day with no major issues—there’s so much more! I pray this return to your first love will restore and revive you. The fruit of this revival points to the fullness of God.
“That’s where he restores and revives my life. He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness so that I can bring honor to his name. – Psalm 23:3 [TPT]
The Psalmist declares hate for every false way of life. Other translations translate this as hating the wrong path or false propaganda. The Hebrew word “sheqer” is used here, meaning falsehood or deception. The complete verse says that the commandments of God result in understanding. When we have this understanding, the result is then hatred towards deception and falsehood.
We can better understand life and move forward living for Jesus by following the commandments of God. As we do this, we grow in our understanding and in our faith. In time, we begin to detest that which is false. God reveals to us His Truth. We aim to live by His Truth. Anything apart from that is no longer acceptable as our eyes are opened.
There are still people today who live the false way of life. Some of these people have always been blind to the Truth, while others have traded the Truth for a lie (see Romans 1:25). Today, pray that God would reveal to you hidden things to grow your understanding. Take some time to pray for those who are still on the wrong path, that eyes may be opened to the deception. Thank God for His commandments who are just, perfect, and true.
“Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life.” – Psalm 119:104 [NLT]
One minute we seem to be all about Jesus, and the next minute we have changed our focus. Sometimes this means that we are not deeply rooted, or not rooted at all. When things are going well or when God is at the forefront of our lives, we are all about worshiping God and serving His people. We are attending church on Sunday and perhaps even interacting with a Bible study group. But then something happens. Boom. Something shakes our world and oh how quickly we do an about face. We change direction. It’s as if we are a different person. What happened to the way we were living? What happened to our focus on God?
It is important for us be deeply rooted in Christ, to have a strong foundation that will stay standing despite any circumstances that will come our way. Yes, we will falter from time to time; however, we should not sway every time to wind blows. Focus on your roots. Study the Word. Hear the Word. Spend time with fellow believers. Pray daily. Do whatever you can to be closer to God. Allow your eyes to be fixed on God. Understand that the moment will come when your world will be shaken. Hold on tight and keep pressing forward.
“At the end of the forty days and nights, the LORD handed me the two stone tablets inscribed with the words of the covenant. Then the LORD said to me, ‘Get up! Go down immediately, for the people you brought out of Egypt have corrupted themselves. How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to live! They have melted gold and made an idol for themselves!’” – Deuteronomy 9:11-12 [NLT]
What do you seek most? The Psalmist wrote that the thing he desired most was “to live in the house of the LORD” forever. What? That was the one thing? If you had one thing to choose, would it be the same thing?
When I consider what I seek most, it really throws me for a loop. It gets me to remember again that today is just a short moment. It’s a small nothingness when compared to eternity. And yet when we pray, we likely are not saying that the one think we desire is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of our lives. How many times is that on your prayer list?
Today, remember some of the prayers this week. What are you seeking? Are you seeking the temporary? Are you fixed on Him? Is the thing you seek most to forever live in the presence of God?
“The one thing I ask of the LORD–the thing I seek most–is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD’s perfections and meditating in His Temple.” – Psalm 27:4 [NLT]
I remember the time wearing your shirt inside out was the cool thing. I am glad that style has since passed; however, I see my son continuing this fad due to lack of attention during the wee hours of the morning. The Bible talks about the need to clean the inside first and then the outside will be clean. So often, we try so hard to work on the outside appearance, but we never let ourselves truly get broken and made new. We think the church attendance, the volunteer hours, the reciting of some traditional prayers will show we are faithful Christians; however, the heart is hardened by sin. We want to have a nice outer appearance, but we’re inside out my friends.
No matter how much you try to clean up the outside, understand that your insides show. Yes, they show. Whatever is in your heart will overflow and pour out around you. So if you are dirty, you can use all the cover up available but it cannot hide the dirt. You might be part of the gang “which outwardly appear beautiful” but inside you are unclean.
Allow God to work on your heart. Pray for Him to break you. Yes, you read that right. BREAK YOU. It sounds painful. It likely will be painful. There are parts of you that are not meant to be the way they are right now. The same goes for me. God prunes. He breaks. He grows. He restores. You cannot grow without the pruning. You cannot be restored, without first being broken. Are you okay with being a whitewashed tomb, or would you like to be beautiful inside, with a beauty that will overflow and point to Jesus?
“You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” – Matthew 23:26-27 [ESV]