Summary: God invites us to enter into His rest now and to look forward to His perfect rest to come.
Resting In The Promises of God!
As we move into the Christmas Season everyone is gearing up for a month of high commitment and low energy. The stores are announcing that there is less than a month for you and me to get our Christmas shopping done. The ads are announcing that pre-Christmas sales will be over soon so you better grab the bargains while you can. The calendar is so full of commitments and responsibility that it sags to the ground as it hangs on the wall. Along with all of activities of the Christmas season there are semester tests for those of you who are still in school. I’m sure that for many people Christmas will be another verse of Christmas’ past - once the packages are all unwrapped, the ornaments put away, the leftovers finally finished, and extended family loads up and follows the road back home -- multiplied millions will raise their voices together like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and sing, "Now I can rest at last."
It is not that Christmas is our problem. We feel the force of restlessness and anxiety in all kinds of situations and through all seasons of the year. We are worn out by relationships that are teetering on the brink of the abyss. We are worn out by walking with our loved ones as they grow older and nearer to death. We are worn out by problems at work that threaten our security. We are just simply worn out aren’t we?
Doesn’t it seem like life is one hurried activity, followed by another, followed by more activity, followed by another commitment, followed by fulfilling responsibilities, followed by falling into bed? Once this routine is played out, we get up the next morning to begin the rush all over again. When we finally get completely worn out we go to the doctor only to be told, "You need some rest." Oh really, as if we didn’t know that already. The question is, "How can I experience rest when I have to go to meetings, pick up the kids to go to their activities, take care of sick loved ones, prepare supper, wash and fold the clothes, clean the house, go to court or counseling, get the kids lunch ready for school, go to work, and prepare to meet deadlines?
If there were someone who could come up with an answer to that question, if you could write a book to solve our dilemma, then you would be the busiest person of all. Everyone around the world would want you to come to their meetings and teach them how to limit the stress, duress, and anxiety and expand and enjoy the quiet rest of peace and tranquility.
In our study for today we are going to continue our look at the Book of Hebrews. Last week we talked about how the Hebrews, as they were being led through the wilderness, were offered the rest of God, but because of the their unbelief God closed the possibilities of their ever entering His rest. The writer pleaded with us last week, "Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts." He pleaded with us not to repeat the unbelief of those who have gone before us. God is offering you and me the opportunity of entering into His rest today and this is an offer that is better than any "Pre Christmas Sale." Let’s take a look at our Scripture for today.
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. (Hebrews 4:1-13 NIV)