The Test of Rest
There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. ~Hebrews 4:9
The word rest connotates taking a breather or a season of time that is needed for renewal and strength. In Hebrews 4, the word rest is used nine times and if we include Hebrews 3, a total of eleven times. Rest is referring to a future time when our spiritual inheritance in Christ is complete and we are glorified. It is the reward for faithfulness. It also implies a present rest in which we must have faith and focus. It is the rest in doing God’s will, God’s work, and God’s woes (afflictions and trials) for our life. However, the sin of unbelief can hinder us from entering our rest. Let us see four exhortations to help us claim all that God wants us to have.
We must be apprehensive.
“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” Many of the Israelites in the wilderness fell short of their inheritance because of unbelief. The example of their failure is a sobering reminder that we, too, could miss out in claiming all that God wants us to have. We must have fear and not be presumptive. We must have fear and not be over-assuming. We must have fear, lest we fall. In effect, do not put confidence in our flesh that we can do anything apart from God.
We must be arduous.
“Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” The word labor means to be diligent. We must be diligent in living for the Lord, doing the work of God, and bearing much fruit. This word is used to describe the diligence with which the servant of the Lord is to study God’s Word. It implies we must not waste time and that we must give our full attention to what we are called to do: keep busy and productive for the Lord. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” Do not allow physical weariness to discourage or distract you from giving your all.
We must adhere.
“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.” Jesus is at God’s right hand, making intercession for us. He is praying for our success and that we are overcomers. To hold fast means to hold tightly to. If others give up and throw in the towel, you hold fast. If others fall away, you hold fast. Hold fast to the doctrines of the Word of God. Hold fast to the fundamentals of the faith, separated living, winning souls, and faithfulness to the local church. Be careful of having a loose grip and letting the things valuable to your faith slip out of your grasp.
We must be aggressive.
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” The exhortation here is to pray with boldness and earnestness. It is calling us to wrestle in our prayers in doing the will of God. It is praying boldly for help for us and those we intercede for. It is praying that God will wrap us in His cables of grace so that we do not fall apart. Our praying is when we go on the attack. It is true faith praying where we ask God to do what we cannot. Earnest prayer is praying in the Holy Ghost and asking God to do the impossible. This kind of praying keeps us sharpened and on fire for God. It stretches the limits of seeing God do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. There remaineth a rest for the people of God.
Have a diligent God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Jeremiah 26-29