Wednesday, December 06, 2006

the promise of rest

The Promise of Rest
Hebrews 3.7 – 4.13
Long ago the LORD promised the His people Rest. They were promised a true Sabbath Rest in the Promised Land. At the time they were slaves in Egypt toiling away with no rest. Slaves who were toiling away with no mercy. They had no hope. Then the LORD brought up a man to lead them out of slavery. With His mighty arm the LORD crushed the most powerful nation in the world at the time. With His mighty arm the LORD led His people out of slavery into the desert on their way to Rest. They were on their way to the True Rest the LORD had promised they would find in the Promise Land. At Mount Sinai His people agreed to the Covenant that would insure that they received rest. Shortly after this they arrived on the border and what should have one of the most glorious moments in human history is squandered. Spies, sent to explore the Promised Land, discovered it would be impossible to take. The LORD’s people hardened their hearts and rebelled against the LORD and rejected the Promised Land. In His anger the LORD sent them into the desert to wander until all those who had hardened their hearts were dead. He swore an oath that they would never enter the promised Sabbath Rest.

After witnessing the LORD’s mighty power crush the gods and power of Egypt. After walking thru the sea on dry land. After they received mercy for stumbling away with the golden calf. After accepting the promise of rest and the covenant with the LORD. They forget and squander it all. They would never enter the Promised Land. Instead they died out in the desert wandering with no rest and no land of their own.

What a bleak and depressing story! The LORD saved them from slavery and promised rest only to have them turn it down. They had a promise, more than that they had a covenant with the LORD and they walked away from it. But, the Promise of Sabbath rest is still out there (Hebrews 4.1). The Promise for True Sabbath Rest is for us. There is a promise to us as the LORD’s people thru the blood of His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

The author of Hebrews reminds the readers that the Promise of rest is still out their and that this promise is now to us! But we must not be like those whom the LORD rescued from Egypt. We must not harden out hearts. We must not rebel. We must not be sinful. We must no have unbelieving hearts. If we do we will lose out on the promised Sabbath Rest the LORD has promised. (Hebrews 3.7 – 19)

We need to hold on tight. We need to have believing and faithful heart. We need to be obedient to the LORD. We need to walk in His ways. If the first Israelites lost out on the earthly rest that would have been found in the Promised Land what makes us think that if we are disobedient, hard hearted or unfaithful we will not lose our promised Sabbath Rest? The mercy of the LORD opened the way for us to this promise thru the blood of His Son. We need to hold on tight to that mercy and not lose hold of it. We don’t save ourselves but we can let go of our salvation if we have unbelieving, unfaithful and sinful hearts/lives.
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