Summary: Hebrews 3:7-4:11 encourages us to enter God’s rest. In a time when the fulfillment and joy that brings rest is hard to find, what a word of hope!
Obedient Faith Brings Divine Rest
Text: Hebrews 3:7-4:11
Maybe you’ve heard in the news that a large percent of Americans today are suffering from sleep deprivation. It causes road rage, traffic accidents, health issues and conflict at work and at home. We suffer from the curse of not enough rest. For many it’s not that we don’t have the time to rest, it is that we don’t have the motivation to say no to the demands and desires that keep us from rest. And even for those that do slow down, there is that gnawing sense of incompletion that prevents peaceful rest. In fact, there is the illusion that life is made up solely of what happens here and now so that you have to get it all now or you’ll never get it at all. But when you look at what people are chasing after that is supposed to bring satisfaction, what do you find? Who succeeds in getting what they are after? Looking for the fulfillment that brings rest, everyone charts their own course in life instead of following the way that God has set before them. So many people are striving to enter the wrong rest. They are chasing after the wind.
But is there a rest that we may enter and find true joy? Hebrews 3 and 4 tell us about God’s rest that he has prepared for us to enter. It is that sense of satisfaction where the soul finds completion and the heart finds the joy of fulfillment. It is that quality that everyone pursues, but in all the wrong directions, fruit of the Spirit that cannot be found anywhere but in Christ.
Listen to Jesus words in Matthew 11: 28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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 SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
30 "For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."
Even in the Old Testament this was understood. Listen to Jeremiah’s testimony in 6:16 Thus says the LORD, "Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you shall find rest for your souls. But they said, ’We will not walk in it.’
The NIV translates David’s testimony in Psalm 62:1 My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from him.
The Hebrew writer bears witness to a blessing from God here that speaks to all people of all times and in all places. We all want the joy and fulfillment that brings peaceful, divine rest. Rest for our very souls. What a beautiful picture! What do you think of when you see a sleeping baby? What cares and worries stir in the heart of a sleeping infant? Would you like to have unburdened rest? God has much greater rest in store!
Lets just look together at the text and see what divine rest God has planned for our lives, what hinders that rest and how we may enter that rest.
Hebrews 3:7 Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, "TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE,
8 DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME, AS IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS,
9 WHERE YOUR FATHERS TRIED Me BY TESTING Me, AND SAW MY WORKS FOR FORTY YEARS.
10 "THEREFORE I WAS ANGRY WITH THIS GENERATION, AND SAID, ’THEY ALWAYS GO ASTRAY IN THEIR HEART; AND THEY DID NOT KNOW MY WAYS’;
11 AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, ’THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.’"
This is a quote from Psalm 95:7-11 and the context is a Psalm of worship. But at the last third of this Psalm he breaks into this warning. Notice the four sections here. It opens with the word “TODAY” and says, if you hear God’s voice. Then it says what not to do. And we see three things God says of the people of Israel that angered him: They hardened their hearts, they tested me, they saw my works for 40 years! God then becomes angry and says: They always go astray in their hearts, they did not know my ways!
Finally, what consequence did Israel suffer for hardening their hearts and testing God and rejecting his ways? God swore, “They shall not enter my rest.” Hell must be a place where endless futile labor continues forever with no rest. Some people have already entered that kind of labor! Let’s continue…
12 Take care, brethren, lest there should be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God.
13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.