Entering His Rest: Hebrews 4:3-11
“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. 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.” Hebrews‬ ‭4:3, 8-11‬
The writer now opens an important subject. It relates to the believers call to enter into a unique rest. Notice, I have skipped some verse because of length. the writer observes that after the six days of creation, God rested. He also set up a system of six days of work and then the Sabbath rest for His people. It was a foreshadow of a greater rest.
The point the writer makes is that in the Old Testament, God’s people as a whole failed to enter that rest. Though Joshua brought them into the physical promised Land, they failed to enter the spiritual promised land of Gods rest.
We are all born into sin. The soul of mankind is in constant turmoil. We are plagued with sin and guilt. Some are victims of neglect, abuse, violence, pain and suffering. Others are slaves of their own passion, pleasure, power and lusts. The kingdom of darkness is cruel and ugly.
In John 10:10 Jesus said; “The thief comes only to steal kill and destroy, but I have come that you might have life, and might have it abundantly.” He was promising deliverance, freedom and rest. In Mathew 11:28 Jesus cried out, “Come unto me, all who are weary and heaven laden, and I will give you rest.”
Jesus invites us to bring our sorrows, fears, burdens, sinful bondage, failures, guilt, anger, bitterness, striving, compulsions, addictions and inner war to Him. He wants to forgive, set free, restore and regenerate. He wants you and me to enter into His rest.
Many Christians trust Jesus as Savior, but fail to bring their burdens to Him. They choose to carry the load of life by themselves. The writer of the book of Hebrews invites us to enter into Gods rest.
I believe David understood this when he penned Psalm 23. He understood the implication of making the Lord His shepherd. He had no wants. He enjoined the green pastures and still waters. His soul was restored. He followed his shepherd into the paths of righteousness. He did not fear the valley of the shadow of death. He took comfort in Gods rod and staff. He understood that God had a banquet for Him in the presence of his enemies. The cup of his soul overflowed and God anointed his head with oil. He welcomed God’s goodness and mercy into his life. He looked forward to the eternity that awaited Him in the house of the Lord.
What was David’s secret? He stopped striving and entered into God’s rest. By faith he embraced the full benefits of his walk with God. He was set free from the guilt, strife, worries and personal failures of life.
God calls every Christian into that same rest. On the cross Jesus opened a door into God’s presence. The indwelling Holy Spirit wants to bring inner healing and calm. He wants to set us free and lift our burdens. He wants to flood us with peace and assurance.
I had been a believer for many years before I started really embracing this promise of entering God’s rest. I was saved, in ministry but often overwhelmed. I had many inner battles and strife with people. God used this text in Hebrews and others mentioned above to show me that His rest is for this life and not for after we die.
At that point, my relationship with God turned in a new direction. I started casting my care and anxiety upon Him. I started understanding how much He cared for me. (See 1 Peter 5:6-7) I embraced His love for me. I made walking with Him and not serving Him my new highest priority. Ministry became a delight rather than a burden. I stopped trying to fix people myself and left them in the hands of Jesus.
Without realizing it, I was crossing the Jordan into the promised land of God’s rest. Jesus was becoming more than my Savior, He was becoming my best friend. He became my new delight in life. For me its been a journey, but a notable change has taken place. Love, joy and peace has replaced anxiety, worry and stress.
Jesus wants the same for you. His rest comes from abiding in His presence. Storms can rage on the outside, but like Noah, we can be safe in the ark of God’s presence. The secret is entering into a daily walk with God. The temptations, cares and anxiety of life burn away in His presence.
I believe that entering into His rest is a process and not an event. This is not salvation, it is growing into maturity. You need to spend time in His Word and embrace every promise by faith. It involves ongoing confession and repentance from your sinful ways as the Spirit of God convicts you.
As you sincerely seek God and build your relationship with Him, one day you will realize you have crossed the Jordan into the promised land. Salvation is an event, conversion is a life long process. God wants Psalm 91 to become your testimony. He invites you to dwell in the shelter of the Most High. He wants you to enter His rest.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global