Promised Rest for God’s People
1God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it.
The promise of rest with God is very clear, but also equally clear is that some of us may fail to achieve it. The Word tells us we should tremble with fear if we think we will not enter God's resting place. So being faithful and obedient to Jesus Christ and having an ongoing devotion will only strengthen our relationship with him and help us to reach God's promise of reaching his place of rest.
2For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God.
This promise is only good if we respond in faith and surrender our lives in faith to our Lord. When you do that, you will have the desire to share your faith. We are told over and over again, to spread the Gospel, and here, we are told why. To be able to share your faith you must be firm in your faith, to be firm in your faith, you must know the character of Christ, and to know the character of Christ is to be saved by his mercy and grace. With that, you can be assured of a receiving his promise of rest.
3For only we who believe can enter his rest. As for the others, God said,
“In my anger I took an oath:
‘They will never enter my place of rest,’”
even though this rest has been ready since he made the world.
No explanation needed for verse 3. You must believe to receive. That is pretty simple. God stated that he made this place for everyone of us. But due to the disobedience he experienced by the Israelites, he made and oath that this is a gift, but with a condition on it. A very simple condition, but a condition non the less. God simply wants our faith in Him.
4 We know it is ready because of the place in the Scriptures where it mentions the seventh day: “On the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 5 But in the other passage God said, “They will never enter my place of rest.”
6 So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. 7 So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted:
“Today when you hear his voice,
don’t harden your hearts.”
8 Now if Joshua had succeeded in giving them this rest, God would not have spoken about another day of rest still to come.
Verses 4-8 simply reiterate the importance of what happens when we harden our hearts and reminds us that the Israelites made such a major mistake. This is where scripture refers to scripture, from the very beginning, God speaks of rest and mankind's failure to receive that rest. Then David is warned, not to harden his heart and we are reminded of the fact that Joshua could not even prevent the people from rejecting the promises of God.
9 So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. 10 For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world.
Here we are starting to understand that this is not just rest from work or rest on the 7th day, but a promise of eternal rest, the rest of receiving Heaven. We know we can receive that promise by maintaining our relationship with Jesus Christ. So God's rest is both physical and spiritual and both are promised to us. There will be a time of eternal refreshment with unending joy and delight in the world. To be able to go and rest where God himself rested on the 7th day after creating the world.
11 So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.
We are told very clearly to do everything in our power to enter this place of rest. If we are disobedient, simply put, we will fail.
12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
Verse 12, tells is how important God's word is. In some sense it makes clear why you shouldn't disobey the way the Israelites did. His word is powerful, sharp and can separate us in a way that will separate us from eternity. His word knows our thoughts and desires and if we do not stay in God's word, those thoughts and desires can betray us. God's word can bring judgement and destruction from those that disobey. His word penetrated our lives and it can separate us from Him or awaken and strengthen us within Him.
13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.
We can not hide who we are from God.
Christ Is Our High Priest
14So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
The above verses go on to show how God has fulfilled His promises. He knows we can not accomplish receiving his great gift of eternal rest on our own. He gave his Son, Jesus Christ to pave the way for us. Jesus himself experience the temptation of humankind, but though he did not succumb and remained free from sin, he pave the way for us. Only through him will we find the forgiveness and mercy and grace that we will need to receive God's promise of physical rest here on earth but eternal spiritual rest in Heaven.