Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also (refers to Israel and entering the promise land); but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. For we who have believed enter that rest, just 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. For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; and again in this passage, “They shall not enter My rest.” Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Hebrews 4:1-10
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
The Sabbath as it was meant to be when God instituted it in Old Testament times was very different in the time of Christ. For those who observed the Sabbath it was meant to produce peace, rest, renewal, restoration, etc. However, the version of the Sabbath the Pharisees were contending for in their confrontations with Jesus produced anything but these things. Ironically, Sabbath observance had become something that demanded laborious effort in not doing any work as it was defined by the religious system of the day. Somehow the idea of the Sabbath being a day of rest got shortchanged.
Today’s passage is all about rest. It speaks of the promise of God’s rest for Israel coming about when they would enter the promise land of Canaan after coming out of Egypt. Israel disobeyed and did not enter in and so they wandered around in the wilderness until Joshua led them in 40 years later. The rest God promised Israel was broader than that of Sabbath day rest. Our passage goes on to tell us that “There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.” This is different than “Sabbath day rest” and “promise land rest.” It is a “spiritual rest” that God intends Christ-followers to enter into.
Hebrews 4 teaches us that there are two aspects to “spiritual rest.” The first aspect is in today’s passage and the second is in the second half of Hebrews 4 which we will look at tomorrow. Notice that after our passage says, “There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God,” it says, “For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.” So, we are to rest from our own “works.” What does this mean? The “Sabbath rest” God has for his people today is a “spiritual rest” and it begins with resting from our own “works.” Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and work for his good pleasure.” Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.”
So, the Christian life is an exchanged life. It is “Christ in us, the hope of glory.” We will go further with this tomorrow. It is important to realize, however, that most of what you will learn about the exchanged life will come directly from Christ as you prayerfully let him teach you and lead you into the fullness of letting the life you live be his works as your rest from your own. This the first part of the “Sabbath rest God has for his people.”
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, I want to follow you fully. Please teach me how to let the life I live be you and not me. I have so much to learn, but I am willing. I bow before you in surrender and dependence. I look forward to all that you have in store for me. I look forward to all the peace, rest, renewal, and restoration you want to produce in my life. Amen!
Posted on Wed, January 31, 2018
by Ken Hart