Read Hebrews 3:7-19
What does it mean to “enter His rest?” I initially thought it was referring to Sabbath rest, but it is not that meaning in this case. The whole idea of “rest” sounds fantastic when you’re scurrying around, trying to check off every single item on your “to-do” list. Again, this reference to rest is not laying around, binge watching Netflix in an over-stuffed chair, eating chocolate!
Our passage talks about disobedience and how that angers God. Consequences result from such behavior, to include missing out on the opportunity to enter His rest. Let’s unpack this so we can understand what we might be missing.
It’s helpful to start with the Holy Spirit’s warning: “don’t harden your hearts.” How cool to see a quote from the Holy Spirit! We don’t often see such references in Scripture. When it’s God speaking, we usually see, “says the LORD” or something similar. This nugget of wisdom will help assure us a place and opportunity to enter His rest.
The Preacher uses this reference from the Holy Spirit straight from Psalm 95. Bringing alive the Old Testament always sparks an interest in the minds of believers, both then and now. The potential remains great that we will be tempted and lured away from God’s presence, too. We will forfeit access to his rest. Having a steadfast life of faith is the prescription for access to God’s place of rest.
When our hearts are hardened, that simply means we’ve lost our desire to care for something. Unfortunately, that can happen quite easily. Think of a “whim” you recently had so much passion for and then, in a blink of an eye, lost your desire and moved on to other things. It seems the older we get the more distracted we can become.
We don’t want to be like those disobedient children in the wilderness who turned from God and refused to do what God told them to do. They stopped caring about pleasing God but focused only on themselves. The nature of human beings is very inner focused, and sadly “selfish.
The Preacher had witnessed how easily people abandoned the gospel for a “more attractive” story. God’s story begins and ends with eternity, which includes this very moment. You are part of this story. How you write the script for the part you play is up to you. What audience are you trying to please, entertain, or impress?
Each day offers a new slate of opportunities to fill our time. In all our areas of life (work or recreation) we face lies put in our path by the evil one. We have the choice of whether to believe those lies or trust in God’s promises.
The Bible says, “Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God.” It doesn’t get any clearer than that. I loved how the Preacher encourages us to help others. There is so much wisdom in having someone keep us accountable. Even this passage is a good reminder to stay focused on God and not be deceived.
There is urgency here. God’s rest doesn’t have to be someday down the road. It can be today for you. I saw a reference to the hymn, “The Church’s One Foundation” to give some insights into this “rest.” When we become a new creation in Christ, we enter God’s rest. (Although we still await our ultimate place of rest in his presence.)
Being in God’s rest means entering his presence. I want to do that every day, every moment if possible! It’s all about a mindset shift to keep God in the front of your mind instead of the back. The reward is more valuable than anything that exists. “For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.”
Let’s pray. Lord, I cherish each moment I can spend with you in your rest. You have designed this place of peace and ultimate joy just for me. Help me to keep my heart and mind pure and focused on you. Refresh me and mold me into the best me, the me you desire. Thank you for your unfailing love and mercy. In Jesus’ name. Amen.