Pretty difficult not to pick up what’s being laid down as you read the latter part of Hebrews 3 and the first eleven verses of Hebrews 4.
“Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (3:8) . . . “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (3:15) . . . “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (4:7).
And how come? Because those who harden their heart, “shall not enter My rest” (3:11) . . . “shall not enter My rest” (4:3) . . . “shall not enter My rest” (4:5).
Kind of difficult not to take note of the cause and effect here.
So, what’s the hardening of the heart spoken of here? What’s the source of whatever disobedience it is that results in missing out on God’s rest?
And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
(Hebrews 3:18-19 ESV)
Unbelief. That’s the culprit! Lack of faith. That’s the robber of rest.
Those who walked away from the bondage of Egypt failed to walk into the blessings of the promised land (4:16-17). Though they had seen the Red Sea parted as they began their journey, they would never reap a harvest from any seeds sown by finishing their journey. Instead they would wander. Walking in circles for the remainder of their lives. Having to depend on God, but never able to rest in God. And that, because they didn’t trust the deliverance of the Deliverer. They had no confidence in the promises of the Promiser. And so, they missed the rest.
And what I am supposed to get from this?
Don’t harden your heart. Don’t surrender to unbelief. Don’t give in to the temptation to not trust.
Instead, believe THERE IS a rest. And, beyond that rest, a better rest.
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.
(Hebrews 4:9-10 ESV)
Faith is the door that allows us to enter a place where the winds are calmed. A reality of repose where striving ceases. That is the rest God provides.
But faith also opens the way to an even greater rest. A Rest 2.0. A place where the work is finished, and so, the promise is sure. A Sabbath rest.
Where not only are external storms calmed, but where inner toil and trouble are dealt with and done. A rest only God can provide because of the work that only God could do. A refuge found only through Him and in Him. A peace that passes understanding only He can provide. Not only bringing me some respite in my situation, but also making it well with my soul despite the circumstance.
There’s rest. And then there’s Rest 2.0 A Sabbath rest. A rest beyond rest.
Hard for me to put into words. Probably one of those things that’s better felt than tell’t. But a deep rest, nevertheless. A real rest. An all-striving-ceases rest. A restorative rest. A rest founded on the finished work of God–the work of the cross. A rest that remains for the people of God.
So we keep the faith. We’re careful not to harden our hearts. And we make every effort to enter that rest (4:11).
Because, by faith, we known there is a rest beyond rest.
A Sabbath rest for the people of God.
By His grace. For His glory.