Summary: When the storms of life have calmed and God has brought us into the rest area to refresh, we need to make sure we use it to our advantage before heading into the next valley.
Following In the Footsteps of Faith
How to Use the Rest Areas of Life
Intro: There are times in life that are simply difficult to tolerate! There are battles to fight, valleys to cross, long nights to endure and storms that must be weathered. All you have to do is read the story of Job, or just live in this world for any length of time and you will know what I am saying is true. These times are not sent because the Lord wishes to cause us trouble. Rather these trials of life are the tools that shape us into His likeness. Therefore, even though they are difficult, they are a blessing in disguise.
Despite how we feel sometimes, life isn’t all bad. We would all have to admit that there are times when the Lord inserts times of peace into our lives. He allows us to pass by some "still waters" and He causes us the "lie down in green pastures." I thank God for those times in my life and I know you do too! Just as surely as the troubles of life are sent into our lives to grow, mature and strengthen us, the rest periods of life are sent for their purpose as well.
This chapter is all about a rest area in the journey of Abraham’s life. I would like to point out a few uses for these rest areas of life. When the times of rest come, knowing how to use them properly allows us to extract from them all the blessing that God wants us to get. So let me preach to you this morning on How to Use the Rest Areas of Life.
I. For Settling down in the Best Places (vv. 33)
A. The middle part of this passage has to do with a transaction between Abraham and Abimelech, v. 22-31.
• This transaction saw seven sheep change hands.
o These seven sheep were a testimony that the well belonged to Abraham.
o The well became known as "Beersheba", which means "The well of the seven-fold oath."
• Wells were of vast importance to men like Abraham.
o They needed them to ensure the lives of their flocks, herds and families.
o It was by this well of sweet water that Abraham settled down and enjoyed this rest area of life.
B. When the fur is flying in your life, it is harder to concentrate on your walk with the Lord.
• But, we should take advantage of the calm times of life to enhance our relationship with Him.
• If we can learn to love Him during the lulls of life, then we won’t have to work nearly as hard to find Him during the storms!
C. What I am encouraging is a life that zeros in on God through prayer, worship and the study of His Word.
• A life that doesn’t wait until everything falls apart to confess its sins and seek His face.
o But, a life that is lived in a place of closeness day by day, even when things are good.
o A life that finds a place of consistent growth in the things of the Lord is a life that He can use for His glory!
• A good example of this truth is the life of Job.
o He called on the Lord when things went wrong, Job 1:20-22.
o He was able to do it quickly because he had spent time in the Lord’s presence when things were going well, Job 1:1, 5, 8.
D. If we can ever learn to settle down in the best places of His blessings during the good, restful times of life, we will not be so easily blown off course when the adverse winds of trials begin to blow against us!
II. For Involving Yourself with His Worship (v. 33)
A. Abraham used this calm period of life to call on the name of the Lord.
• He used this time to deepen his relationship with God.
• This certainly equipped him for the battles that were still to come in life.
B. Why is it that so many people wait until the bottom falls out to call on the Lord?
• The best time to worship Him is all the time!
• It says far more about your character when you are consistent in worship than it does for you to wait until you are in trouble to call on Him.
• Many people treat God like He is a spare tire!
o Pull Him out when life goes flat; then put Him away again when the crisis has passed.
C. Don’t wait until some calamity comes to run to Him, be in the business of seeking His face day by day.