31 May 2013

Entering God’s Rest

You might be surprised that we can do more resting than doing any other activity... 

In it we rest our physical body, mind, spirit and soul which are all one and all essential to our total being. In rest every part of our being recharges and can fully function again to maximum potential.

We live in a world which is fast paced, doesn’t sleep and consumes tonnes of stimulants to keep us going. Many are proudly self-confessed workaholics, even when our body is crying out for a break. But this is not natural to our being and how we were created. Hebrews 4 describes the amazing blessings of resting and its future promise to those who love God. 

Hebrews 4:1-3  Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, ‘So I declared on oath in my anger, “They shall never enter my rest.”’

The Israelites when they left Egypt were promised a land of their own that they could possess and find rest from their slavery. But sadly, through unbelief, disobedience, rebellion and hardened hearts they never made it.

God too desires for us to enter our Promised Land of blessings and rest, here on earth and later in heaven. But human nature does not change, and we too can fall short of everything God has for us.

Though a rest is promised to us if we seek it, there is reason to think that many Christians fail reaching it who had expected to obtain it.

  1. Those who are professors of religion but who have never known anything of true piety;
  2.  Those who are expecting to be saved by their own works, and are looking forward to a world of rest on the ground of what their own hands can do;
  3.  Those who defer attention to the subject from time to time until it becomes too late. They expect to reach heaven, but they are not ready to give their hearts to God now, and the subject is deferred from one period to another, until death arrests them unprepared;

Hebrews 4:6-7  Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, God again set a certain day, calling it ‘Today’. This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.’

Many today hear the gospel and offer of Salvation through faith in Christ. But how many accept it with open arms, fully embrace it and live it each day? Our heart is unfortunately deceitful and double minded, desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). We can love God and people one moment and then turn without warning and become hateful.

Our sinful nature and our spirit are at a great war with each other. Sometimes our greatest enemy is ourselves which craves the evil things of this world which never satisfies. How many times do we do evil that we know we should not, and don’t do righteous deeds we know we should? (Romans 7)

It is in this place that our hearts can become hardened; we rebel, become disobedient and unbelieving and turn away from the living God. Human nature does not change.

Hebrews 4:8-11  For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.

Perhaps the greatest failure a person could ever make is to fail in their pursuit to entering heaven. To miss out on all that God had in store and experience all His blessings and promises for all of eternity. How dreadful the thought, to hear the gospel but to be too busy to investigate it properly and eternally perish in hell.

And how terrible to run well as a believer but yet to permit the devil, the world or the flesh to hinder in the few last steps! Christian watch out for yourself and examine if your faith is strong and real (2 Corinthians 13:5)

Hebrews 4:12-13  For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

All scripture is from God and profitable for every area of our lives when we apply it and live it radically. The bible is no book of fictional stories and fantasies – it is God’s love story towards a fallen creation who desires to only have relationship with us and to bless us with His promises.

One of these is the promise of rest – for our body, soul and spirit so we can fully enjoy everything He has for us. God’s Word is the GPS to our Promised Land of rest and finding our way through sometimes dark roads to our eternal destination of Heaven.

His Word reveals everything that we are, cutting deep like a butter knife into our thoughts and intentions! Scripture is a powerful weapon of Truth and Revelation against the lies of the enemy and this world that desire to lead us astray.

Hebrews 4:14-16  Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to feel sympathy for our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

If God rested from all His work creating the universe from nothing, we too must as well. How often can we be so busy and exhausted from serving at church, burning out and religious acts of good deeds?

Legalism is a tempting lifestyle to live in, for it promises good favour with man and God but when it becomes its own pursuit it leaves us with nothing but self-righteousness and bitterness. If God rested that means He left us an example to follow, which includes:

  • Resting from church activities
  •  Resting from a multitude of good works
  •  Resting from work and employemnt
  •  Resting from relationships
  •  Resting from hobbies and leisure

Because we are promised in Psalm 62:1, My soul finds rest in God alone