We’re really just beginning to experience God’s rest, but there is so much more that awaits us when we respond in faith. This is God’s promise to us if we don’t give up – perfect rest with him. Rest from trouble, conflict, pain, sorrow and death. No more hunger, no more thirst, no more tears. Instead joy, refreshment and satisfaction in his presence. Isn’t that something immeasurably precious? That’s our homecoming, our eternal inheritance.
These words keep ringing in our ears:
Today, please listen; don’t turn a deaf ear as in the bitter uprising.
For who were the people who turned a deaf ear? Weren’t they the very ones Moses led out of Egypt? And who was God provoked with for forty years? Wasn’t it those who turned a deaf ear and ended up corpses in the wilderness? And when he swore that they’d never get where they were going, wasn’t he talking to the ones who turned a deaf ear? They never got there because they never listened, never believed.
For as long, then, as that promise of resting in him pulls us on to God’s goal for us, we need to be careful that we’re not disqualified. We received the same promises as those people in the wilderness, but the promises didn’t do them a bit of good because they didn’t receive the promises with faith. If we believe, though, we’ll experience that state of resting. But not if we don’t have faith. Remember that God said,
Exasperated, I vowed, “They’ll never get where they’re going, never be able to sit down and rest.”
God made that vow, even though he’d finished his part before the foundation of the world. Somewhere it’s written, “God rested the seventh day, having completed his work,” but in this other text he says, “They’ll never be able to sit down and rest.” So this promise has not yet been fulfilled. Those earlier ones never did get to the place of rest because they were disobedient. God keeps renewing the promise and setting the date as today, just as he did in David’s psalm, centuries later than the original invitation:
Today, please listen, don’t turn a deaf ear . . .
And so this is still a live promise. It wasn’t canceled at the time of Joshua; otherwise, God wouldn’t keep renewing the appointment for “today.” The promise of “arrival” and “rest” is still there for God’s people. God himself is at rest. And at the end of the journey we’ll surely rest with God. So let’s keep at it and eventually arrive at the place of rest, not drop out through some sort of disobedience.
Hebrews 3:14-4:11 (The Message)
This is Day 30 of The Rhythm of Rest (Write 31 Days challenge).
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