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.
Can you imagine the abuse Jeremiah would have taken for being the messenger of this recitation from God. This is not a popular message. Nobody likes to be spoken about in a negative light. Certainly, what Jeremiah said about God’s people was true. Sometimes the truth can be brutal.
What emotions stirred for you when you read this passage? Right off the bat, I felt a bit defensive for God. The persons he described had abandoned him and hurt him deeply. The words may be harsh, but we can’t say they aren’t true.
After all the good things we’ve been reading about Solomon in the last several passages, this may have come as a bit of a surprise. What was Solomon thinking? Did he think he was “untouchable” by God? Did he not realize his disobedience “might” have a consequence or two?
More on that to come, I’m sure. How can one man have that many women? Is that being heroic or too big for his britches? Not sure where that old saying came from. Google defined it simply “behaving as if you are more important than you really are.”
Today we learn the rinse and repeat cycle God will use to get the Israelite’s attention. There are four parts to this cycle. #1 – People go astray. #2 God turns them over to their enemies. #3 The people cry out to God. #4 God sends his rescue. God didn’t intend to leave his people abandoned. He will continue to send helpers to get them on track. From the sounds of it, his plan worked temporarily but didn’t sustain itself very well.
It’s interesting to note how the Israelites would always revert back to the other gods when left without a leader. It’s easy for us to make judgments on their behavior. Think of what a toddler can accomplish in just minutes when a parent is looking the other way. Or, the chaos of a classroom when the students are left to fend for themselves if the teacher leaves the room. We are curious by nature, always testing the limit. Does this help explain what is happening here and why the Israelites can’t keep their focus on God?
The angel’s message from God was pretty clear. The Israelites had messed up by disobeying God’s command. Our last reading said they had “failed” to drive out the Canaanites. Did that mean they didn’t even try? Or is it that they should have tried harder and never accepted defeat because that meant they were ultimately “disobeying” God?
Sometimes in life we have to be prepared to read between the lines and understand what is intended. When we start to make assumptions that our actions are “good enough” without striving to be what God wants us to be, maybe we’re being disobedient, too. We can’t say we didn’t get the memo. We’ve got God’s word right here in our hands. Now it’s up to us to read it. He wants to bless us!