World English Bible translation
4:6Seeing therefore it remains that some should enter therein, and they to whom the good news was before preached failed to enter in because of disobedience, 4:7 he again defines a certain day, today, saying through David so long a time afterward (just as has been said),
"Today if you will hear his voice,
Don't harden your hearts."
4:8For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not have spoken afterward of another day. 4:9 There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 4:10 For he who has entered into his rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from his.
Moses had led the people out of Egypt and to Mt. Sinai. There God promised them a land of milk and honey. God promised to lead them into the Land and to overthrow the inhabitants. From Sinai, Moses led them to the border of the Land. Spies were sent in but they reported back that the Land was heavily defended and that the people would be destroyed if they entered. They believed the report of the spies and rejected God's promise to them. So, God swore in His wrath that that generation would not enter into His rest.
Moses had preached the good news to them. He had told them that God would deliver the Land into their hands. They would inherit vineyards already planted and waiting to be harvested. They would inherit fields ripe with grain. The good news that was delivered by Moses is comparable to the good news that we are given in Christ. The author wants these Jewish Christians to see the parallel between their own situation and the situation that confronted their forefathers at this particular point in history.
These Jewish Christians had heard the good news of Christ. They had believed the news of the grace of God that had been offered to them. But, now they were becoming tentative. Some of them were refusing to enter into the promised rest of Christ. They were threatening to turn back to Judaism. The author is trying to tell them that they have a decision to make right now that is just like the decision that was made when the spies returned. Will you believe what God has promised or will you play it safe?
Assuredly, what God offers is not what we would reason to be safe sometimes. God demands that we take risks. He demands that we believe. He told the Israelites, "Go and attack the heavily defended cities of Canaan and I will deliver them into your hands. It does not matter that only months before you were not an army, but only a multitude of slaves. I will fight for you." The Israelites wanted to be safe.
Entering the Sabbath rest is not easy. To enter into God's rest we must have faith and faith is never easy. It goes against every natural instinct that we possess. Faith led Moses to stand up to Pharaoh and demand that he let God's people go. Faith led Joshua to lead the people into the Land that was promised to them forty years after they should have entered. And faith led Jesus to the cross.
"Today if you hear His voice, donít harden your hearts." The admonition of the psalmist speaks to us even now. While it is yet "Today" let us head the voice of Christ as He calls to us. Let us listen to what God would have us to do and let us enter into God's rest through faith. God's Promised Land awaits us Ö God's rest beckons to us.
Will you enter God's rest? Will you believe?
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