Verse: Hebrews 4:1-11
Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2 For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. 3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest’”. And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 5 And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest”.
6 It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. 7 Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.
Hebrews 4:1-11 is a long scripture about faith and God’s rest. There are a lot of specific scriptural references in this but I am just going to try to summarize what this is saying to us today. First we have to understand that the first word, Therefore, means we have to look back at Hebrews 3 that talks about the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years because of their lack of faith in God. God promised them a land where they could rest in Him. In this scripture, the writer says that this promise of rest still stands for the Hebrews and, in effect, for us also.
A quick aside – I love that the scripture says “For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words”. I often remember a scripture but am terrible at remembering where it is in the Bible. Seems like I am not the only one!
So what rest is the writer talking about? In verse 3 and 5, God is saying that it is “my rest” and again in verse 10. This is different from Sabbath rest. You don’t need faith to participate in Sabbath rest. What God had promised the Israelites was a spiritual rest in Him where they would rely completely on His leading.
This promise was fulfilled in Jesus. We can experience spiritual rest, a freedom from spiritual striving, by believing in Jesus. We can rest from the work of obeying all the Jewish laws to gain salvation. Not that we won’t still do good things but that it is no longer work but is an outflowing of what He has done for us. We can rest in knowing that He loves us completely and unconditionally.
“Let us make every effort to enter that rest”. This is an exhortation for us to enter this salvation-rest by faith. Let’s take it. This is the rest that is good for us and our souls. And lastly, it will be good for others who will see our lives and want this rest also.
Dear Lord, help us to see clearly what your son as done for us. That we are sons and daughters adopted by you. Help us to rest in this knowledge and to have faith that you have redeemed us.
Author: Brad Dunn