Hebrews 4:1–3 – Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, 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.
When kids are little, they can be very impatient – especially when the know something wonderful is about to happen. This explains why they keep asking to open their gifts the night before Christmas, and repeatedly shout from the back seat on the drive to vacation, “Are we there yet? Why is this trip taking so long?”
Adults are a lot like kids. For those who believe the storyline of the Bible, this life can be incredibly frustrating. We hear about the eternal future God has for us – healthy resurrected bodies, perfect world, no sin or death, everything is paid for, we get to hang out with Jesus while the sun is shining and riding skateboards on streets paved with gold – and we wonder why this life is such a long journey to our forever vacation.
Hebrews 4 reflects back on the Exodus. There, Joshua and Caleb, acting like the president and vice president, are leading the people from Egypt to the Promised Land (Numbers 14:24,30). Having been in Egypt for over 400 years, they became slaves and had not had a day off for maybe generations. God supernaturally delivered them with plagues, death, a parted sea, and manna food delivered daily. A nation of perhaps a few million, they wandered in the wilderness for some 40 years, grumbling and sick of living a homeless life of walking and camping. Honestly, we’d fare no better.
The author of Hebrews uses the Exodus as an analogy for our life. God supernaturally delivered us through the resurrection of Jesus, defeated our Pharaoh of Satan and slavery to sin, and promises us an eternal home and rest. Yet, here we are stuck wandering around this forsaken planet wondering when we finally get to go Home.
The key, Hebrews says, is that we have “faith” in the “good news” about Jesus Christ. The kind of sabbath rest that is spoken of is three-fold. 1) Internally through faith in God we have a sabbath peace 2) Externally through faith, once our internal life is calmed by God, we can start to enjoy the life that God has given us, stop working, and start recovering 3) Eternally through faith, those who have faith in God experience some degree of His sabbath rest in this life, then enter into Heaven and the eternal and final rest. It all starts with faith that provides internal sabbath rest. You can have an external “heaven on earth”, complete with a big house, nice car, epic vacations, and delicious meals and still be in turmoil because the internal life is not settled by faith. This is precisely what Jesus meant in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
How able are you to rest and recover internally (e.g. mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically) and calm down, replenish, and sleep?