World English Bible translation
4:1Let us fear therefore, lest perhaps a promise being left of entering into his rest, anyone of you should seem to have come short of it. 4:2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, even as they also did, but the word they heard didn't profit them, because it wasn't mixed with faith by those who heard. 4:3 For we who have believed do enter into that rest, even as he has said, "As I swore in my wrath, they will not enter into my rest;" although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4:4 For he has said this somewhere about the seventh day, "God rested on the seventh day from all his works;" 4:5 and in this place again, "They will not enter into my rest."
The people of Israel failed to enter the Promised Land because of the report of ten of the spies that were sent into the Land. God swore by His wrath that the people would not enter into His rest because they did not believe the promises that He had given Moses. The author of this epistle encouraged the recipients of the letter who are of Jewish descent to be careful lest any of them fail to enter God's rest today because of their unbelief just as their forefathers had done.
God's rest is still available to the people of God. It was not something that was only available to Israel at that time. In fact, the author concludes that God's rest has been available since the creation of all things. "God rested on the seventh day from all His works." He concludes that God's works were finished at the foundation of the world and that God has been "resting" ever since. In that sense, God's rest has been available since the time of Adam until now. All that is required to enter the rest of God is that one must believe the revelation of God that has been given to us.
God promises us His rest just as He did to Israel. The promise to Israel was that they should enter the land that God had prepared for them. They would take over the vineyards and fields of a pagan people. They would find vineyards and fields that were already ripe to harvest. God would fight for them and cause the Land to fall into their hands with only the least effort on their part.
But God's rest is not just the easing of the travails of our own lives. The author reminds us that the rest of God is the rest of which God Himself partakes. "God rested on the seventh day from all His works." God's plan and purpose were set into motion from the moment of creation. All things are working to the ends that God has established.
This is not to infer that God is the cosmic watchmaker that has wound up the world and watches it from a distance. God's rest is within the creation that He has established. He is an intimate part of all that He has created. In truth, God also transcends His creation but that is only because no creation could possibly contain Him. God's rest does not imply the cessation of activity. God's rest is the complete confidence and trust that all that God has said would be accomplished will be done. God's rest is the complete faith that says that my life and future are in the hands of a God that loves me. Nothing can shake my life in Christ.
To enter the rest that God offers all we have to do is believe. If we believe, we rest in God from all of our efforts to save others and ourselves. If we believe, we rest in God from all of our efforts to clean up our own flesh and the flesh of those around us. If we believe, we enter the rest the God shares with all of His people. We enter the house of God and sit at the table of the Son.
Are you willing to admit your life and future are in God's hands? Are you ready to rest as God rests within you?
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