Senior Adult Weely Devotional Wk. 84

By: Noah Barr

The Rest Remains

Hebrews 4:3-10

3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’ ” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” 5 And again in this passage he said, “They shall not enter my rest.” 6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. 9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

            The Israelites mourned for thirty days in the region of Moab. After all those years, Moses was dead and they were a long way off from the promised land. Their rebellion should have left them in desperation in the wilderness but God’s providential hand was not swayed. For Joshua stood in Moses’ place as the Israelites new leader. With many battles and defeats behind them, Joshua led the Israelites into Canaan, the land of promise. After all those years they had finally arrived and, as plentiful and lush as the land was, it was only meant to be a temporary stay.

        The Israelites reached the promised land in the Old Testament but something had been missing. In their quest to enter the land, they missed the One who had brought them to that land. They believed it was the land itself that would give them fulfillment. It was like the Lord was secondary to all the goodies they had received. In the great land where they ended up, they did not find peace. They did not find God’s rest, because they were not looking to Him.

        “For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world” (Heb. 4:3). As Christians we believe that Heaven awaits us. Heaven is the place where we will dwell with the Lord forever, in perfect fellowship. We will know Him face to face. We will see Him forever and all of our struggles and problems will be gone. This place is beyond our imaginations, beyond our capability to fathom. We will be with all the Christians who have ever lived, along with the angels and walking the streets of gold. All of our attention will be towards Jesus who has saved us. We will no longer work our jobs, go to bed, or get tired. We will be done with our physical work. We will have rest in Heaven. Not the temporary rest after a long day, but a ceasing from sin and pain. We will no longer struggle with doubts or bad memories, fear or danger. We will be free from our feeble minds and unexplainable anger. This rest will be a perfect peace with Jesus Christ. This is rest that remains for us who have put our trust in Christ. However, this passage tells us that many of the Israelites entered the promised land but missed the eternal rest of Heaven. They did not miss the rest because they were ignorant but because they refused the rest that God offered. They refused His salvation. Their hearts were so hard that God said there was no way they would ever enjoy His rest, they would never enjoy the Heavenly land that God has made.

        “For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this passage he said, “They shall not enter my rest” (Heb. 4:4-5). Back in Genesis, God created the world in six days and on the seventh day He rested. Which simply means He stopped creating. When He created the world and all that is in it, He also laid out a plan for all the world. At the end of this plan was His glory, which is still being worked out. God would send His Son to save sinners and bring them to Heaven. This plan was unbreakable. It was decided then what God would do, and it was like He had already won. God is never losing, no matter how bleak things are. God is always winning even though the worst things happen to us. In ways unknown to us, God is bringing His glory out of everything that happens. And He continues to hold the door of Heaven open for those who would trust Him.

        “Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward in the word already quoted’ “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Heb. 4:6-7). The author of Hebrews was telling the church that Christ is still calling for sinners to repent and enter Heaven. The reality is that many did not repent and believe, and that door closed for them. In the Old Testament, King David wrote Psalm 95 saying: “For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts,” (Psalm 95: 7-8). The preacher was telling the congregation that God has always been calling. God has always been speaking, saying ‘come to Me.’ His command was to not harden our hearts toward the Lord’s kindness but to accept it and believe Him. For God has given ‘today’ but not forever, one day just as the door of the ark closed so does Christ’s offer of salvation.

        “For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his” (Heb. 4:8-10). The preacher made one more point for the congregation. He explained that Joshua had led the Israelites into the promised land. They did finally make it to the promised land. However, the Scripture says that when Joshua led them into the land that they did not have ‘rest’. They did not have the eternal rest that is given by Christ. They did have peace for a while when they got there, but it was short lived. This land was only a picture of what the greater rest would entail. They were not to fall in love with the land but look to the Heavenly promised land. The author goes onto say that “there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God” meaning that Christians are saved but have not entered God’s rest yet. For us as Christians, our promised land is yet to be seen and, in that day, just as God had rested after the sixth day, we will forever rest with Christ and all of our work and heartbreak will be over. Therefore, today is the day to turn to Christ and today is the day to thank Him for the rest He has won for us.