STRIVING NOT TO STRIVE
I am so thankful, my God, that one day I will see You face to face. Speak to me through Your Word.
Read Hebrews 4:1–11
A Sabbath-Rest for the People of God
4 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2 For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.[a] 3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
“So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’”[b]
And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. 4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.”[c] 5 And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”
6 Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, 7 God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted:
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”[d]
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works,[e] just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat do you hear more often from God, ‘try harder’ or ‘rest in My love’?
God had promised the Israelites rest (1). The Promised Land – a land flowing with milk and honey. But that promise pointed forward to a far greater rest, a rest like God’s rest at the completion of creation (5,6). They received neither because of their faithless, hard, disobedient hearts (2,6,7). Yet God’s promise of rest remains open today to anyone who would receive it (6–9). It is received by faith (2), not by works, not by our own efforts (10; Galatians 2:16).
And yet, we are warned to make every effort not to fall short (1,11). How do these things work together? How do we make every effort to rest from our work?! By holding firmly to the promise (14). Or as the book of Jude puts it, by fighting to trust that God’s love is for us, as we wait for the eternal rest He has promised us (Jude 21). So God does tell us to try harder. But not to earn His love. Rather He says make every effort to rest in His love.
Ponder on what it really means to rest in Christ. Jesus promises rest for our souls if we put our faith in Him. Ask Him to draw you alongside Him and teach you His peace (Matthew 11:28–30).
Jesus, teach me how to lay my life in Your hands… and leave it there!