3 …although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works.” … 6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,
For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on.
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. 9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Hebrews 4:3b,4,6-10
The writer of Hebrews looks back through history to share in regards to rest to help us find understanding:
- Creation-verse 3b, from the foundation of the world-verse 4: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works.” We see the Sovereign Creator God who created the world and initiate rest. From the foundation of the world, it has been the Father’s will that His children find rest, peace, joy and fellowship in Him. There can be no true rest without fellowship with God.
- The time of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness: The Jews who received the good news message of forgiveness, salvation, joy and rest in the Lord blocked the manifestation of it due to rebellion, unbelief, and disobedience. Remember The Lord speaking to Moses, “The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey…(Exodus 3:7-8).”
- The time of Joshua, verse 8: “For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on.” God used Joshua to give the Israelites some manner of rest- rest from the enemies of this land but not ultimate rest from the enemy of man’s soul and death. God spoke about a greater day!
- Today – the Day of God’s Salvation: verse 7: “again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” As we discussed in an earlier post, Today is the day of salvation. The Day of God’s grace.
- A Sabbath rest for God’s people, verse 9-10: “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.
These verses show us God’s plan for His people to rest in Him from the creation of the world. It is exciting to know that even the events in the Garden of Eden does not have power to circumvent God’s plan for His children to rest in Him forever.
We will not know God’s rest in its fullness until heaven but what comfort it brings to look forward to the day described in Revelation 21:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4
Just can’t wait for that day! “And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” Revelation 14:13
It is the final Sabbath rest of salvation in the very Presence of the Lord. But the question remains, what about rest for today, in the midst of the nitty, gritty life before heaven. We hear the Lord’s great invitation of Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” and again in 1 Peter 5:7, “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” Rest is found in the dying of self and living for God- His plan, His purpose, His way! Love overflowing into obedience gives sweet rest. It is not a work of our own doing or any type legalism.
It is makes no difference if rest remains needed for right now or the future, rest is found in the completed work of Jesus at the cross and in His resurrection three days later. It is by believing that we enter into God rest (salvation) and it is by obeying by faith and surrendering to His will that God’s rest that we realize the fullness of His rest. No wonder the Psalmist declared,
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7 On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Psalm 62:5-7
O, what a privilege to be His child and enter His rest!