Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.
Who is the audience of the book of Hebrews? The book of Hebrews was written to God’s people, not to unbelievers. Hebrews 4:1 says, “Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.” Notice that the writer used the pronoun “us.” This passage was written to Christians, and it was a warning not to fail to enter into God’s rest.
The word “therefore” ought to send us back to the preceding verses. In the original text, there were no chapter divisions; this was all part of one discussion. In Hebrews 3:16-19, the writer said, “For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 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 not able to enter because of unbelief.”
Consider this: Who failed to trust God at Meribah and Massah? The Israelites had seen God’s miraculous provision of parting the Red Sea, of changing Pharaoh’s heart, of delivering them out of Egyptian enslavement. Then they got to Meribah and Massah and had no water, and they began to moan and groan: “Oh God, why did You bring us to this place? Are You going to let us die of thirst?” God was angry with them because they were failing to trust that the same God who had led them to that point would sustain them. Who incurred the anger of God? Who refused to trust God when tested? It was not unbelievers; it was believers.
Later, the Israelites went to Kadesh-barnea. They refused to obey God when He told them to go and take the land that He had given them. They said, “There are too many obstacles. We will be overtaken by the giants in the land.” Who refused to trust God? It wasn’t the Canaanites; it was God’s own people who refused to obey Him when they were ordered. And because of that disobedience, they failed to enter the Promised Land.
Failing to enter God’s rest is not failing to enter into Heaven one day; it is failing to enter God’s place of blessing right now in your life. These were God’s own people who refused to trust and obey God. Of course, they did not lose their salvation. God said, in essence, “I am going to forgive you of your sin, but there are going to be consequences to your lack of faith and lack of obedience. All but two of you, Joshua and Caleb, will die in the wilderness without experiencing the Promised Land.” The writer of Hebrews warned us: don’t make the same mistake that the Israelites made.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Quest For Rest” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2018.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.