“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.” Hebrews 4:1
The word rest is a noun. There is no action involved. It is a state of being. Webster defines rest as, “refreshing ease, inactivity after labor, relief from trouble, anxiety, mental or spiritual calm.” God promises believers can enter into His rest; so what would cause one of God’s children to come short of being able to enter into God’s rest? Hebrews 4:2 gives the answer to that question.
“For 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.”
The ones who heard the truth of believers rest; chose not to enter into it. How sad to refuse the very thing made available to us through the cross of Christ.
There’s an old song that says, “There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God. A place where sin cannot molest, near to the heart of God. Oh Jesus, blessed Redeemer, sent from the heart of God. Hold us who wait before Thee, near to the heart of God.”
The place of rest is:
* Refreshing – There are places in this world that momentarily bring calm and rest to our spirits. Some of you are thinking, “the beach;” others are thinking, “the lake,” or “the mountains.” Still others are thinking of “another country.” A calm comes over you even as you think of that quiet place. God’s place of rest can be any time or any place.
* Promised – A portion of Hebrews 4:1 says, …”while the promise of entering His rest still stands”… What Christ has promised is always available to His children. This promise means one can be free from guilt and worry.
* Illusive – to the disobedient. Disobedience or lack of faith is what keeps us from entering into His rest.
* Complete – On the cross, Jesus declared His work finished and complete. He rested from His work. In verse 11, Jesus asks us to be diligent to enter His rest. Rest is not automatic. Believers can choose to be proactive and make choices that demonstrate our obedience and our faith. It is by faith that a person enters into salvation and it is by faith that a person enters into Sabbath rest, which is not just merely physical rest but rest for the soul. It has to do with a calmness deep in our spirit. Sabbath rest is rooted in Christ’s work, not ours.
Several years ago, my heart was so heavy and even though I knew I belonged to Christ, I dealt with deep, dark depression. I would only sleep for a couple hours a night and that was with medication. In fact, the depression became so severe, I told the Lord, I wanted my spirit to be outside my body so it could rest. Each night, my heart would pound as I laid down my weary head. In His still small voice, The Lord spoke to my spirit. He said, “Libby, you know what has to take place in order for your spirit to be outside your body and it is not yet time.”
Two artists drew their versions of peace and rest. One drew an ocean, still as a pond, with a sailboat floating quietly by. Over head the sky was blue, flecked with light fluffy clouds. On the shore were children playing in the shallow water and making castles in the sand. This was his picture of peace and rest. The other picture had a wild rocky shore with angry waves crashing onto the rocks. The sky was black with a storm, and the surging waves tossed and heaved. Up high in the back ground was a rocky cliff. Hidden in the cleft of the rock and sheltered from the wind sat a bird, safe and secure in her nest, looking out with a serene and untroubled eye at all the turmoil below. This is the picture of the peace and rest God wants for you and me.
During my year of depression, I must have cried a river full of tears. I have stated many times, if all our “tears are kept in a bottle,” by God, like the Bible says, then I know I have a river full.
Matthew 11:28-29 says, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.”
God has seen your tears. They have watered your prayers. The same God you trusted for your salvation stands ready to provide glorious Sabbath rest.