Let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.
The writer of Hebrews said, “Let us be diligent to enter [God’s] rest.” As we have seen, the writer used the term “rest” in three different ways in chapter 4. Yesterday, we looked at our past rest (salvation) and our future rest (Heaven). Today, we will look at the third type of rest.
The third kind of rest is our present rest that God wants us to enjoy right now. Hebrews 4:11 says, “Let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.” The King James Version says, “Let us labour . . . to enter into that rest.” Labor to enter God’s rest? You may be saying, “Wait a minute, Pastor. Doesn’t the writer remember what he said a verse earlier? In verse 10, he said we have to quit working to enter God’s rest, then he said we have to be diligent to enter that rest. How do we make sense of that?”
The writer of Hebrews was talking about a different kind of rest. In 4:10, he referred to the rest that comes from not working, of receiving God’s salvation as a gift. To experience God’s future rest, we quit working and accept God’s gift of grace. However, to experience God’s present rest, we have to be diligent. We have to labor to experience that rest. How do we labor? By trusting God when tested and obeying God when ordered. Some people have difficulty understanding this passage because they want to make “rest” mean Heaven. That is not the “rest” the writer was talking about. If Canaan is equal to Heaven and if the Promised Land is Heaven, then the writer would be saying believers could end up falling short of Heaven. That is not possible. He was talking about a present absence of turmoil in your life that you can experience right now.
What is it that is causing you tremendous stress in your life right now? What is it that is causing you to keep churning internally? Your mind cannot get off of this particular challenge you are facing. Maybe it is a relationship problem, maybe it is a challenge you are facing at work, maybe it is a health concern, maybe it is a financial difficulty. The Bible says God wants you to experience rest right now. God’s supernatural rest is the peace that comes from trusting God when tested and obeying God when ordered.
Not long ago, I was talking to a man who was facing a very trying circumstance at his workplace. He did not know if he was going to have a job in three months or not, but he said, “Robert, I am at perfect peace. I believe God is going to take care of us just as He has taken care of our family in the past. I have done everything I know I am supposed to do, and I am trusting God with the outcome.” In spite of what was happening around him, this man was experiencing God’s supernatural peace. That is the present rest the writer of Hebrews was talking about here.
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.