Before God created man He made sure the earth was a pleasant place for man to be – He created the atmosphere, the plants, the animals, and everything needed for man to live.
Then, when man was created, all he needed to do is to rest with God and enjoy God, and then to dress and keep the garden of Eden (Gen. 2:15). How wonderful! We are created to first rest with God and enjoy Him, and then accomplish His heart’s desire.
It is the same in Exodus, when God gave the revelation concerning the tabernacle, how to build it, and who to build it – He then reminded His people that He firstly wants them to rest, keep the Sabbath, and enjoy Him. After we have adequately enjoyed the Lord, we can also work with Him and for Him.
In the New Testament it is the same: in Acts 2 we see that the ministry of the apostles began not with them working first but with them enjoying God first! They got together, enjoyed God, prayed, were in one accord, and enjoyed the outpouring of the Spirit.
In this enjoyment they were all one, and when Peter stood up to speak, they were one in the Triune God and filled with the enjoyment of God (Acts 2:4).
Lord, right now we want to stop anything else and come to You to enjoy You! Before doing anything for You, Lord, cause us to remember to firstly enjoy You. May we take time to behold You, enjoy You, and be filled with You, so that we may take You as our source in all we do. We want to be one with You in our working together with You.
Being Filled with Enjoyment and Then Working With God
We need the Lord to shine on us and remove any religious concept veiling us from seeing what it really means to work together with God.
May the Lord really unload us of any spiritual knowledge or good opinions that is not according to God’s New Testament economy, so that we may see what God desires and how does He want us to work with Him.
In the New Testament the first Christian work was the ministry of the apostles. After the Lord Jesus ascended to the heavens, He commanded them to stay in Jerusalem until they are clothed with power from above.
What the apostles did for ten days was not to work for God or prepare to work for God, but they just got together and prayed. They prayed themselves into the spirit, and they were filled with the enjoyment of God.
At the end of the 10 days of prayer in the upper room (Acts 2:1-4) they were filled with the Holy Spirit as the power, and they were filled with the heavenly wine, the heavenly power. In this power and by this power coming from their enjoyment of God they worked as one, one with God and one with one another.
The same disciples that rejected the little children from coming to the Lord, who wanted to call fire from heaven upon some cities that rejected them, who denied the Lord when He was arrested, and who desired to be first among the others – these ones got together, prayed, enjoyed God, and were filled with the Spirit, becoming ONE and working ONE with the Lord for His economy!
Why would we do anything different? We need to be filled with God, enjoy God, and then we will spontaneously work with God one with Him!
The Principle of the First Day of the Week
In the Old Testament God commanded His people to keep the Sabbath as the first day of the week, the seventh day (Exo. 31).
In the New Testament the Lord didn’t come to abolish the law but to fulfill it and uplift it (see Matt. 5-6), and so now we don’t keep only one day but we want to enter into the reality of the Sabbath every day!
How about keeping the Sabbath as Saturday? We see that in the New Testament EVERYTHING is new, and the believers gathered together on the first day of the week. The Pentecost was the 50th day – the first day of the week after the Sabbath, the eighth day.
Again and again we see that on the first day God wants man to enjoy Him, rest with Him, and be filled with Him.
Man only needs to enjoy God’s accomplished work: enjoy Christ in His incarnation, human living, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and outpouring as the economical Spirit, together with all the riches of His divinity.
As we enjoy God in such a way, there will be a result, an issue: we will be one with God to work together with God and accomplish His will.
Abel did this, by listening to the Lord and seeing that He desires a lamb as a sacrifice and not the result of man’s striving and work.
Many people in the Old Testament and in the New Testament firstly enjoyed God in His appearing and His revelation, and then they worked together with Him. May we be those like this also in our age and in the church today!
Bearing a Sign that We are God’s People
The Sabbath was a sign that needed to be kept by the people of Israel to show that they are God’s people.
In doing God’s divine work to build up the church, we as believers in the New Testament also need to bear a sign to indicate that we are God’s people and that we need Him.
We may see the building of God, we may see the need, and we may have a burden to work together with God – but as believers we need to bear the sign of being God’s people by first enjoying the Lord and acknowledging that we depend on Him, we take Him as our source, and we work one with Him.
We shouldn’t follow the customs of the nations: we are God’s holy people, and we do not insult God by working first and then resting later with Him when we are tired.
God desires that His people first enjoy Him, bearing the sign that they need Him and take Him as the source, and then work one with Him by His strength, enjoyment, and energy.
When we bear this sign, we display to the whole universe that we are God’s people and we glorify God.
Lord, make us those who realize how much they need You! Save us from insulting You by working first and resting later. Lord, we need You. We come to You to enjoy You and take You as our strength, energy, power, and source. We choose to enjoy You first, Lord, and then work in oneness with You. We just want to honor You, giving You all the glory, by bearing this sign for all to see that we are Your people!
References and Further Reading
- Sharing inspired from portions in, Life-study of Exodus (msg. 172), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, The Unique Work in the Lord’s Recovery, week 6 (entitled, Keeping the Principle of the Sabbath in Relation to the Work of Building).
- Buy this morning revival book online via Living Stream Ministry.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Take time to behold Him, Be calm in thy soul, Each thought and each temper Beneath His control.
# Let us work together with the Lord through prayer, Praying every time and everywhere. He will not accomplish His will on His own; Seek Him ‘till His purpose is made known.
# God’s service in this dispensation / Requires that man should work with Him; / Thus God and man in close relation / And joint dependence work therein.
- Pictures credit: taken & edited by friends on facebook.