The Laboured And Heavy Laden,

Matthew 11:28-30
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Instead of labour & heavy laden, some versions use “weary & heavy-burdened.”

The words Jesus chose to use here carry with them the meaning that they are “active.” It’s not like weary from a week’s work and the TGIF relief of the weekend in sight. This weary & laden show no signs of relief in sight. Isn’t that where we are in our struggle against this virus. Except by a miracle of God, even if today were the “peak of the curve,” we would still have to use extreme diligence in caution not to cause a second peak, or a third.

For some people in rural areas, this virus thing is still a little surreal but for those in cities the reality has hit home. A person I follow posted this yesterday,

“There was an 18 wheeler semi truck parked on my street today, in front of a hospital that’s on my block. It was an unusual sight. Not actively loading or unloading. Just parked.”

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Need I explain the pic? We are not the first generation to go through hardship of this type. Around 1918-1920, the Spanish flu’s death toll was estimated to have been anywhere from 17 million to 50 million, and possibly as high as 100 million. Considering the increase in per capita ratio today, those numbers are hard to fathom.

This “weariness & heavy-laden” is part of what Jesus was addressing. But we as Americans, “Land of the FREE,” have a hard time thinking we should be “yoked” by anything or anyone, even Jesus. So we refuse outside help and “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and labor on,” and the weariness mounts up.

The Apostle Paul made an odd statement in the book of Hebrews.

Hebrews 11:4 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

While the thought of laboring to find rest seems counterintuitive another version of this verse kind of clears this up,

4:11 So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.

Other versions use the word “diligence.” In other words a constant, not haphazardly effort, a “priority” is set to “enter that rest.”

A word picture of this is drawn by God in today’s devotional reading in MyDailyBible app,  DailyPlan : one-year-tract : 2020-04-03 #Bible https://www.mydailybible.org/dp/esv/one-year-tract/2020-04-03.htm

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As I studied this verse I learned something about why it had to be kept burning. It was God’s Fire. The Fire of Heaven ignited it, literally,

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As Matthew Henry says, we should “exercise the fire of our holy affections,” he too implies “diligence.”

While America still professes “One Nation Under God,” in reality, that only applies to a small percentage of the per capita ratio. Jesus addressed the 7 churches in the book of Revelation. I have heard many many times which church closely relates to the one found in America,

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In verse 15, Jesus condemns the “neither cold nor hot works” of this church, actually each individual of this church. They want God but also the riches the world has to offer too, a carnal Christianity.

In verse 18, Jesus speaks of gold “tried in the fire.” Maybe you are thinking how can this apply to me?

The fire God sets in the heart of a new “Born Again with God’s Spirit Christian” should never be allow to become but a “smoldering wick.” We should do as God commanded the Levities, keep His Holy Fire burning in our hearth.

If we are diligent in seeking God first, above and before anything else, (they tended the fire and ashes 1st), we will discover that we are becoming the burnt offering in the fire. Little by little, things are burned from us by the “Work” of God’s refining fire. From glory to glory as Paul puts it.

God is so patient with us but if we as a person or a nation refuses to submit to the Work of Grace He has so Mercifully given the church, He has little options except by turning up the fire that remains. God blows on the smoldering wick to ignite it again.

Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.

I wish I could say how many times I’ve heard preachers says God will not bring judgment to America, we are God’s nation. But what is the option? Let the fire He started go out, to a “full end?” When God allows a “full end” there’s no hope left, not even a remnant.

Earlier in Isaiah, God reiterates a principle of dealing with “His People.”

Isaiah 40:1-3  Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” Says your God. 2 “Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, That her warfare is ended, That her iniquity is pardoned; For she has received from the Lord’s hand Double for all her sins.”

The word “Comfort” being used twice should not go unnoticed. It’s the Hebrew languages way of adding emphasis. God’s compassion and mercy comes AFTER a Double Portion of Judgment for sins.

After 911, churches across America were filled with people seeking to find God in their time of distress. To soon afterward, many of those who found Him, forgot where they put Him because they forgot to “labor, diligently to enter his rest.” Instead of being transformed by the “washing of the Word,” God’s kinder, gentler way of transforming us, they naturally reverted back or even fell deeper in “comforting the flesh.” Our flesh is greedy, no matter who you are.

Only by daily keeping the Fire of God burning in us can we expect to have a few ashes of our fleshly desires be consumed by our Loving Dear Heavenly Father. It’s a much better method of being transformed into His likeness. If the church is the “Bride of Christ” as the Bible says it is, we need to settle this thought in our mind,

Jesus Isn’t Coming Back for a Lukewarm, Ragtag, Defiled Bride!!!

Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

So would you rather be washed by water or a gentle fire? God gave the bride of Christ “freedom” to choose the method. If you are a member of the Bride of Christ, rest assured the “washing” will come.

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