We are called to enter into his rest. What does this look like?
What will this look like when it is complete? For the children of Israel, they couldn’t enter God’s rest because of unbelief (Hebrews 4--fear unbelief) Hebrews 4:2 “The word they heard [the good news of forgiveness and promised joy] did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.” In other words, they didn’t believe it. They doubted God. They distrusted him. They did not have faith in his promise to give them a better future than they had in Egypt and so they gave up on God and wanted the old life. The rest God gives to you is radically different from what the world expects and seeks.
The concept of rest presented in Hebrews 4:1-13 is unique because it alludes to several events. In Psalm 95, the rest spoken of was what would be awaiting them once they reached their final destination. However, in this present passage, N. T. Wright explains, “The idea of God’s rest on the seventh day of creation comes into its own in a different way. Now, the writer links God’s own rest at the end of creation, suggesting that, since God was warning that the people might not enter into His rest, this implied that the promise of the land was meant to function for them like the rest which He had enjoyed after His six days of creation.”
Faithfulness and the lack of it are deeply rooted in the Old Testament, so the author now asks his listeners to not harden their hearts as those in the wilderness had done. Holding fast assures one of being a partaker of Christ
Genesis 2 1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. 2 And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.
Psalm 95 7 O that today you would listen to his voice! 8 Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, 9 when your ancestors tested me, and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work. 10 For forty years I loathed that generation and said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they do not regard my ways.” 11 Therefore in my anger I swore, “They shall not enter my rest.” ( A later generation of Israelites was warned by the psalmist not to follow the bad example of their ancestors’ refusal to listen to God, lest disaster should overtake them in turn; and now a still later generation has the same warning impressed upon it by the writer to the Hebrews. The rest spoken of was what would be awaiting them once they reached their final destination )
Matthew 11: 28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Romans 16: 25,26 Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelations of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him—to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ (If we accept what God has done for us in Christ, we are said to enter with God in His rest: we have been restored to our original estate—a part of the utter perfection God celebrated in the beginning. To what end?)
Hebrews 4 (The Rest That God Promised) 4 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2 For indeed the good news came to us just as to them; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.[a] 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as God[b] has said, “As in my anger I swore, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’” though his works were finished at the foundation of the world. 4 For in one place it speaks about the seventh day as follows, “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” 5 And again in this place it says, “They shall not enter my rest.” 6 Since therefore it remains open for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he sets a certain day—“today”—saying through David much later, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”
(Hebrews 4 continued) 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God[c] would not speak later about another day. 9 So then, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; 10 for those who enter God’s rest also cease from their labors as God did from his. 11 Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through such disobedience as theirs. (the writer links God’s own rest at the end of creation, suggesting that, since God was warning that the people might not enter into His rest, this implied that the promise of the land was meant to function for them like the rest which He had enjoyed after His six days of creation.)
1 Corinthians 1: 18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” 20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23 but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.