Summary: Sermon 10 in a study in HEBREWS
“Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST,” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS”; 5 and again in this passage, “THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.” 6 Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.” NASB
In our last installment we talked about what makes God angry. We read about the behavior of the children of Israel in the wilderness, and their disobedience of unbelief. They tested God by murmuring against Him there, distrusting His provision for them and yearning for their former life as slaves in Egypt.
In the first eleven verses of chapter 4 the author is continuing to talk about them and the negative example they are for us. However rather than focusing on the people themselves, although it will be necessary for us to talk more about them, I’d like for our primary focus today to be centered on this ‘rest’ that is talked much of here.
It seems to me that is what the writer himself has done. He is concerned to give us warning and also encouragement, and as we go we will perceive a certain urgency in his words, expressing his deep concern that we do not spiritually follow the wasteful and pointless path they took through unbelief.
THE GOOD NEWS PREACHED
There is a very important point of clarification to make in verse 2, about the usage of the term ‘good news’.
In the English text we have the phrase, ‘good news preached’. In the Greek text, there is only one word there, and it is the word from which we get the word ‘evangelize’. The word means to proclaim good news or good tidings, with the emphasis on proclamation.
Now if you think about it you will realize that this is not a reference to what we call the Gospel, with the New Testament application concerning Christ’s death to pay for our sin and His resurrection to give us life, and His ascension back to the glory He had with the Father before the world was, following His promise to return and take us to the place He has prepared for us.
When we evangelize today, when we proclaim the good news, that is what we tell.
The good news they had proclaimed to them pertained to the report of the spies who came back from spying out the promised land in Numbers 13. The 10 gave a bad report, but Caleb and Joshua faithfully gave a good report, saying (Num 13:30), “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it”, their confidence being based on the fact that God Himself had told them to go in and possess the land.
We cannot take the time now, but later if you go and read Numbers 14 you will see all the arguments that Caleb and Joshua gave for going into the land in obedience and trust in God, and the repeated refusal of the people out of fear and mistrust. Finally, in verses 22-23 of that chapter, God declares,
“Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice, shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it.”
And again in verse 29,