When I speak of rest, what comes to your mind? It may be the ability to sleep in one morning without being disturbed by the irritating sound of an alarm clock, or rest may be engaging in a sport or hobby totally unrelated to your work. For others of you, the thought of rest includes traveling to a favorite vacation spot far removed from your everyday activities.

We all long for a place of rest. But in Hebrews 4 the writer tells us that we don’t have to wait for Saturday, a trip to the golf course, or our annual vacation. There is a unique and satisfying rest available to God’s people right now.

The word “rest” comes from a Greek word that means “to cease working.” In the context of Hebrews 4:1-11, it means not only to quit working, but to quit worrying, striving, and fearing. In this section, he uses the term “rest” 11 times with three different meanings. There is a future rest that awaits Christians in heaven, a past rest that made us Christians, and a present rest God wants us to enjoy right now in this life.

Some of you will one day experience God’s rest in heaven because you have believed His word about the future, but you are failing to experience His rest right now because you find it difficult to trust Him about the present.

Every one of us has some area of life that we are anxious about. It might be a relationship, our job, financial difficulty, or health challenges. So what is God’s rest? God’s rest is the peace that comes from trusting God when tested and obeying God when ordered.

There is an equation for experiencing God’s rest: God’s commands plus our faith equals God’s supernatural rest.

Why didn’t the Israelites experience God’s rest? Please note it was not because of a lack of biblical information. They sat under the teaching of the great Law giver, Moses. These Israelites had seen the two tablets of God’s Law written by the finger of God.

They knew God’s Word intellectually, but it was of no value to them because they failed to act upon it experientially. The Bible teaches repeatedly that to hear and not to obey is not to really hear at all. We’ve often said: “Faith means believing what God has said and acting accordingly.” True faith will always result in obedience. 

Matthew 11:28-29 illustrates the two kinds of rests God wants us to experience in this life: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” That is the rest that comes from salvation. The invitation is to do nothing, but simply come to Christ (Hebrews 4:10). Verse 29 goes on to describe a rest that comes from working: “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and YOU SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.” The yoke was a piece of wood placed on the back of animals with loops place around the animals’ necks so that they would work together. The yoke made the animal subservient to the will of its master.

Once you become a Christian, God calls you to submit to His commands. But contrary to popular opinion, God’s requirements are not burdensome. In fact, when you submit to His will you will find a rest like you have never experienced. 

These Israelites had seen the faithfulness of God over and over again. They knew God had ordered them to enter the Promised Land, and now they were at a point of decision. Would they trust and obey God or would they listen to their old nature, and allow fear to rule their lives? Would they decide the obstacles were too great for them to obey? Unfortunately, only two were willing to submit themselves to God and experience God’s rest. The others were sentenced to forty long years of life without direction or peace of mind. And they died without ever having experienced God’s blessing.

I don’t know your particular situation, but I am sure there is at least one area in life that is a source of worry and stress for you. Like the Israelites, you are facing a decision. Will you trust in God’s provision and obey what He has commanded you to do, even though you cannot see the outcome of your obedience? Or will you continue to try to work, strive, and manipulate the circumstances yourself?

Will you worry or will you rest? 

This is a decision that we make every day and every hour of every day. You can’t decide once and for all to trust and obey God. It is a continual choice. When the Israelites were in the wilderness God provided just enough manna for the day. They were prohibited from storing manna for the next day except for the Sabbath. 

They had to trust God each day! And so do we! Only when we unite our faith with God’s commands will we experience His rest.
 

Welcome to First Baptist Dallas! Our mission is to transform the world with God's Word...one life at a time. We are a church with a legacy that is built on the Bible, and we continue that legacy today. With multiple service times and options, as well as age group Sunday School classes, we have something for everyone. Join us on Sundays in person or online beginning at 9:15am.
Address :
1707 San Jacinto,
Dallas,
TX - 75201
United States.
Tel : 214-969-0111