HEBREWS 4:1-13 (NIV – UK)
A Sabbath-rest for the people of God
1 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 good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. 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.”’ [Psalm 95:11]
And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. 4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: ‘On the seventh day God rested from all his works.’[Genesis 2:2] 5 And again in the passage above he says, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’
6 Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, 7 God again set a certain day, calling it ‘Today’. This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted:
‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.’ [Psalm 95:7,8]
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 their works, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
A FUTURE OF REST
Life can be stressful – life can have ups and downs, highs and lows – it can be exhausting. But from the very beginning, from the opening verses of Genesis, God reveals to us that one day there will be rest.
This is the great hope of Jesus’ followers – that through Jesus we might one day just… rest. It is a promise that was extended from the very beginning.
What is your idea of rest in day-to-day life? Perhaps putting your feet up in front of the t.v.? Maybe relaxing on the beach reading a good book? Maybe even going out for a long walk? Whatever it is, one thing we can guarantee is that it does not even compare to the future rest promised by God to his people. The future rest in God is just that… rest IN God – just stopping all those things that distract us – all those things that stress us out – and living in beautiful poetic harmony with Father, Son and Holy Spirit in eternity.
But we are warned in this chapter: ‘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’ (v. 1). And what is the qualifying standard? How do we not fall short? Surely we all fall short? Well, yes we do – but Jesus doesn’t. The qualifying standard to enter God’s rest is simply to trust, love and follow Jesus. Beautiful simplicity.
Question: How do you feel about the idea of entering God’s rest?