Hebrews chapter 4 is an interesting read, and quite relevant for me right now. I would like to look at this chapter from 2 points of view. Firstly from the point of view of someone who is not saved, and then from someone who is. I think that there are two lessons here, one for each group of people.
God’s rest. What does that mean? Well after reading the passage, a few notes in my study bible, and finding a few related websites, I believe it comes down to two related things. Firstly it comes down to salvation. This is where you need to start if you are not yet saved. God promised the Israelites rest, yet they disobeyed Him and never actually made it to the promised land. People today are in the same situation. We have the promise of God to find rest, and that rest is in Jesus. It sounds really cheesy I know, that Jesus is our rest, but it is true. If you don’t know this love of Jesus, I suggest that you talk to someone about it. There is something missing in your life, and the more you try to find it, the more you desire it. We are made to have a relationship with God, and without Jesus, we can’t do that. You will never fill that emptiness without Jesus.
The second rest that I believe this is talking about is for believers. It is the same rest as the first one, but we don’t always feel this rest just because we have given our lives to Jesus. Why not? Well, to sum it up in one word. Faith. Take a look at verse 2. For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God. Let me tell you a brief story to illustrate my point. There was a man at my church, whose wife had a stroke. The pastor shared about it and asked the man if he was alright to come up and share what had happened, and let us know what we should pray for. I will never forget his response. He said that he was fine to come and share, because the stroke was from the enemy, not from God. He said that she would receive complete healing as Jesus had died for our sins, and by His stripes we were healed. He said that we could stand with him in believing for complete healing. Needless to say, his wife was released from hospital early, after the doctors were confused as to how she made such a quick and complete recovery. Now you may argue with this guy’s theology (in which case you disagree with me too as I share his beliefs), but you can’t argue with his faith. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God. It comes from knowing what the Bible says, and believing that over and above what your circumstances dictate.
My pastor said that God was making me into a man of faith. At first I was excited, but then I realised what that meant. I needed to stand in the Word of God, removing unbelief, and ignoring my circumstances. Let me tell you, this is not easy. The chances of us coming up against some kind of hardship or trial is pretty much guaranteed. The question is how do we deal with it. Do we believe what the world tells us? Do we give up and believe that things will go the same way that our circumstances dictate? Or do we stubbornly believe the Word of God? The man that I told you about, he experienced a time of rest. The whole time his wife was ill, he was in a time of rest. Why? He knew the Word of God, he trusted in it, and he saw the outcome that he was believing for. If he didn’t know God’s Word, he would probably have panicked. He may have broken down at the thought of losing his wife. Would that have been a time of rest? Certainly not!
So often, myself included, we look to our circumstances changing in order to count as rest. I now believe that it is our faith in these times that determine our rest, more so than the times themselves. Read the Word, build your faith, remove all unbelief. This is what we need to do to believe in the Word of God, only then will we find the rest that we so desire. I’m not saying that we won’t see the troubles go away, I hope that we do, I’m just saying that we can have rest even in the troubles. Besides, we have more chance of seeing the troubles go away with faith than without.
Until next time.