As I study Exodus, I am preaching about Genesis. We just finished looking at the Creation story. As you review each day of Creation, you finally reach the seventh day. Rest. I love how God built this great rhythm of work and rest into His creation. This rhythm continues throughout the Bible, and today’s verse is one of these continuations.
God tells His people that the land needs renewal. As I take my morning walks, I often take note of the small things that I wouldn’t see rushing throughout my day. I look around the neighborhood, at the different gardens and flowers. I consider the different seasons, the way the growth patterns work. There is great rhythm in creation, and with it there is renewal that God designed within His creation.
We also need renewal. We need to have time to rest and time to renew ourselves in the Lord. Part of this means being intentional with your time. We have different seasons of our lives, just like there are different seasons of a calendar year. We have seasons of challenge, seasons of loss. We have seasons of growth and seasons of change. Each season is different, but each requires rest and renewal. More importantly, in each season we need the Spirit of God to lead us through, to mold us and grow us for the next season.
“But let the land be renewed and lie uncultivated during the seventh year. Then let the poor among you harvest whatever grows on its own. Leave the rest for wild animals to eat. The same applies to your vineyards and olive groves.” – Exodus 23:11 [NLT]
There were different offerings given to the Lord including the Grain Offering. The Grain Offering was to show honor to God. Recently when I was reading Leviticus 2, I read about what was involved with the Grain Offering. There was choice flour, olive oil, and frankincense. But there was something else. Something else was added to the Grain Offering. Salt.
The salt was used to season the Grain Offering. That might sound strange to us because we think of salt as a seasoning for food that we will eat. Why would a person salt an offering that was going to be given to God? This salt was to remind the people of God’s covenant with them. Salt symbolized preservation. Salt symbolized healing. God offers us preservation and healing. This salt reminded people that God was active in their lives. He was active and he was offering preservation and healing and restoration.
Today we are still offered preservation and healing and restoration through Christ. Like salt, God can penetrate our lives and preserve them. He can offer us healing. He can offer us eternal preservation. But have you added the salt? Have you allowed God to penetrate your life? Are you allowing Him to be active in your life?
“Season all your grain offerings with salt to remind you of God’s eternal covenant. Never forget to add salt to your grain offerings.” – Leviticus 2:13 [NLT]
The story of the woman by the well always has been one of my favourites for so many reasons. After studying John 4 more closely, I read up on verse 29 and it got me thinking. Verse 29 says, “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done, this is not the Christ, is it?” The woman asked this question when she returned to her people to tell them about her encounter with Jesus. What is important to note about this question, is the lady asked the question expecting a negative response.
I started to think about how we interact with Jesus in prayer. When we come to Jesus, do we ask expecting a negative response? Or do we believe He can do the impossible? When we are going through our day, do we believe God will provide us with the necessary provisions to do His will, or do we think that we will have to find another way? Our attitude has a lot to do with our actions and reactions in life. Our attitude also is a demonstration of our faith and of our relationship with Christ.
Now the woman by the well grew in faith. She went from not having any faith to having some faith. Then she ran to the others and she shared what had happened. Then they believed. What a journey! And this is the same journey that each one of us is on in life. We come to know Jesus and then we embark on a journey of faith. Little by little, we become stronger in our faith. At the same time, we begin to share this faith with other people. After the people of Samaria heard Jesus, they said, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world” (v. 42).
Maybe you are having a bad season in life or simply a bad day or week. Perhaps you are at a place where you are thinking negatively. Don’t be hard on yourself by limiting God. Don’t get discouraged and allow Satan to cause you to think that God has forgotten you or doesn’t care about you . Allow God to show you who He is and the faithfulness He has to His children. You never have to go thirsty.
“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” – John 7:37b-28 [NASB]
Life is filled with changes. We experience change every day. Sometimes change can be good and sometimes it is not so well received. I know when it is unexpected, change can make one feel like the ground is shaking beneath them. It can be overwhelming and very unsettling.
Those who have graduated and proceeded forward with the journey through adulthood may be quite familiar with the class reunions. For some people, these meetings are grueling and they choose to stay away so that no one can detect their thinning hair or expanding waistline. Then there are others who want to go show everyone all that they have accomplished in the past.
This past week I had the opportunity to see someone who I have not seen in many years. Before the meeting, I honestly wondered if the person had changed at all. I have changed a lot these past years. To my surprise, the person did not change one bit. It was as if nothing at all happened in all those years.
After the meeting, I started thinking about how I have changed over the years. I also thought about the many new things I am embarking on at the present moment. Change can be scary. At times there is this feeling of uncertainty because of the unfamiliar ground we tread upon. Change can also hurt because quite possibly it is not what we expected or what we desired. Change can be so great and welcomed like the birth of newborn child. Change can also be something we wish we could refuse because we feel let down or failed.
This got me thinking about God and how He never changes. Our God is the same yesterday and today, and He will be the same tomorrow. I understand with all the changes that are happening around me and in my life, that He is always there through it all. Through each obstacle, He carries me through– He is always faithful. Through all the wrong turns, He is there to show me grace– He is always forgiving. Through every heartbreak, He is right by my side to comfort me– His love is never-ending.
Perhaps life is unfolding in a way you never imagined. Perhaps the road doesn’t look as smooth as it once did. There is no certainty of what can be expected for tomorrow. Nonetheless, I know one thing. I know that God will be there. He always is. And so, I accept whatever changes come my way, because in the end, I know He will be by my side.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” – Hebrews 13:8 [NASB]