Summary: Exposition of Hebrews 4:1-13
1Therefore, 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. 2For we also have had the gospel preached to
us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who
heard did not combine it with faith. 3Now 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.’ “ And yet his work
has been finished since the creation of the world. 4For somewhere he has spoken about the
seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 5And
again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”
6It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel
preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. 7Therefore God again set a
certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said
before: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8For if Joshua had given
them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9There remains, then, a
Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own
work, just as God did from his. 11Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that
no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.
12For the word of God is living 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. 13Nothing 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.
The author of Hebrews continues his exposition of Psalm 95, as we saw in Chapter 3.
However, the difference here is that he draws also on the source of the Psalm, he draws on the
Kedash Narrative from Numbers 14. It tells the story of what happened after the small group of
men went into the Promised Land to see what was there. The majority returned and said, there
are too many people, they are too strong, we will not be able to take the land. Yet, Joshua and
Caleb, both said, the Lord is with us, we can go in.
Moses pleads with God not to destroy the people, after they listened and agreed with the
majority report of the spies. God relents and says that this generation, everyone over 20 will die
in the desert, they will die the over the next 40 years. The people say we have sinned, and they
decide to go into the land and take it over, but God is not with them, and the Canaanite and
Amalikites defeat them easily.
I. In the last chapter, the Author of Hebrews established that there is a rest available for the
people of God. It can be missed by disobedience, but obtained by obedience. He continues
now in the 4th chapter with these words, 1Therefore, 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.
A. You see in this opening verse of Chapter 4, a real concern for those who make up this
church that he is writing to.
1. He wants to make sure, that no one is going to “fall short” of the rest of God
2. It is difficult to be certain at this point if “rest” is to be equated with salvation,
but it clearly seems to be a possibility
A. The foundation on which this thought is built is that of the example of
those who were disobedient after the crossing of the Red Sea.
B. They did not enter the promised land, with two exceptions, Joshua and
1. Even Moses was not permitted to enter the Promised land, only
to look into it
2.They were refused the God’s rest
3. There is a clear sense there that something of dire importance is at stake. I
would be inclined to say that this is dealing with issues of salvation.
4. The emphasis is not on what happens if one falls short of this rest, but rather
taking steps to make sure that one does not fall short of God’s rest
5. This call not to miss the rest of God is repeated time and time again, let’s not
be like those who heard the voice of God and did not listen, let’s be careful and
listen to the voice “today”