Bible Reading: Hebrews 4:1-16
Rest. A small word with big meaning! Throughout history there has been a collective groaning for rest. Just when a person thinks they have found rest in this world, it slips through their fingers. The reason rest seems to elusive is due to where it is being searched for. People are looking to find rest in financial stability, job security, marriage, friendships, and numerous other worldly things. Although they search for rest in many places, it evades them because they cannot find rest in the things of this world.
When we read Hebrews 4, we learn that there is a true rest for the people of God, but we must not take it for granted. The opening verse reads, “Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.” What would cause the author to write such a thing? Well, in Hebrews 3, we read that God had promised the Israelites a land to call their own and enter into his rest, but they were rebellious and sinned against God. The promise to enter His rest was theirs, but they failed to follow Him. Likewise, we too have received the promise of entering God’s rest. But, if we are disobedient and fail to follow God, then in His wrath He will withhold His rest.
The author’s logic makes sense. Joshua led the people into the Promised Land, yet this was not ultimate rest. We know this because God has promised a still greater rest than receiving an earthly kingdom to call our own. Still, we read, “there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God…Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.”
Application: What is the author getting at in Hebrews 4? The point being made is about remaining faithful to God all the days of your life. There are plenty of idols and distractions vying for our hearts affections, and we must remain alert to keep our hearts totally for God. The chapter ends by reminding us of our great high priest, Jesus. Jesus knows what it is like to lack rest, and He also knows what it is like to face temptations to surrender to worldly, lesser rests. Don’t take advantage of God’s saving grace towards you, but daily devote yourself to putting your life in His hands. The only safe place for our lives is in the hands of God, and the only true rest that can be found for our souls is in the God of our salvation.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your great patience in working in us. We are your children, and that is only possible because of your love and mercy. Keep us from falling into temptation and from searching for rest in this world. Teach what it means to rest in you alone, so that we will keep our hearts and minds free from sin and disobedience. We love you, Father. Amen.