Wednesday in the Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

Hebrews 4:3-10

There Is a Rest for the People of God

Yesterday we ended with verse three, “For we who have believed enter that rest.”  Now the Preacher feels the need to go back and prove that there still is a rest for the people of God even now.  His argument is basically: 1) The ancient Hebrews were supposed to enter into their rest, which in their case was the equivalent of the Promised Land, or land of Canaan, which had been promised to Abraham and his descendents some six centuries prior (Genesis 15:1-20), but failed to enter in when under Moses’ leadership they refused because of unbelief (Numbers 13-14).  Still, the rest was there had they believed and conquered the land.  2) Joshua did lead the Israelites into that rest when they entered the Promised Land.  3) Yet, David spoke of another rest for the people of God in Psalm 95 just a few hundred years after Joshua led the people in, thus indicating another day when rest would be available for God’s people.  4) And it is this rest that the Preacher uses to prove that a rest for God’s people still remains—not of entering an earthly land but a heavenly one based on faith in God’s promise which is now founded upon the person and work of His Son.  5) And added to all of this is that even God rested from His labors after creation into whose rest we enter.

We might enquire as to what this heavenly rest is.  We remember that in the Garden, Adam was required “to work it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15), thus indicating that work was not intended to be a curse.  But work did become implicated in the curse after sin in that now Adam had to deal with thorns and thistles when he worked the ground (Genesis 3:17-19).  So drudgery was added to work. 

But it seems more is included in “rest” than not having to work.  Indeed, to limit rest to labor is to cheapen it.  Heavenly rest means to rest from striving with temptation and trial, even doubts and fears—all the things the world, our sinful natures, and the devil constantly hurl at us day by day.  In many places of our planet, it means ultimate release from persecution and suffering; in others, freedom from poverty and deprivation.  For some, it includes final discharge from sickness and disease, lifelong handicap and mental infirmity.  It means that the struggle and the war that Christians face everyday will be over.  Yes, I know that unbelievers face some of these things as well, but it stings more deeply for the Christian who knows but for his own sin, it wouldn’t be this way.  But that just makes the rest all the more glorious, for it is God who cleanses, heals, makes matters right again, and wipes away the tears from our eyes.  And that makes a true rest.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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