Last week, in "Ultimate Rest" Part 1, we saw that
there IS rest in Jesus, and God uses this story of the conquest of
Canaan to teach us important lessons about what it means to have this
But just what does it mean to "rest" in Jesus?
Hebrews 4 is very clear that that Canaan "rest" was not the only rest God was trying to teach us about here: "So God again ordains a certain day, 'Today,' speaking through David after so long a time, as in the words quoted before, 'O, that today you would listen as he speaks! Do not harden your hearts.' For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken afterward about another day." (Heb 4:7,8).
Take heart, friends, God's promise of rest did not stop with the conquest of Canaan. It is alive and active for us as well. God has promised us rest: "Consequently a Sabbath rest remains for the people of God. For the one who enters God's rest has also rested from his works, just as God did from his own works. Thus we must make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by following the same pattern of disobedience." (Heb. 4:9)
Ah! God is talking about the Sabbath rest here. We need to take a day aside each week and "rest" in Jesus...
But wait. The people were given the Sabbath in the wilderness, before the conquest. If the Sabbath day is the only thing being referred to here, then why is it said that the original people, the ones who came out of Egypt, didn't get to enter into their rest? They had the Sabbath day...Or is it possible that our "rest," our "Sabbath" is far more than a simple day of the week when we go to church and spend time with God?
Let's remember that the first Sabbath was a celebration of God finishing the works of creation. Let's also remember that though the first 6 days of creation are all marked by the words, "There was evening, and there was morning, a _____day." (Gen. 1:5,8,13,19,23,31), this statement is NOT made after mention of the 7th day, the Sabbath: "By the seventh day God finished the work that he had been doing...God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it he ceased all the work that he had been doing in creation." (Gen 2:2-3).
In other words, God's original Sabbath had no marked end. This is because when God finished creation, there was no more to be done. This is why Hebrews 4 states: "For the one who enters God's rest has also rested from his works, just as God did from his own works." (Heb. 4:9). Just like the first Sabbath was a total rest from the works of creation, the "rest" promised us in Jesus is a total rest from our own works!
We're talking about Salvation here, friends. God is calling us into eternal rest, rest in Jesus, a complete and total rest from our own works by putting our trust in Jesus' ultimate sacrifice on the cross. This isn't telling us to set aside one day of the week for God, it's telling us of the need to daily walk in the rest He has already given us!
What does this entail?
Freedom from the wages of sin, yes (See Romans 6:23), but oh, so much more. Rest in Jesus also means freedom from worry (See Matt 11:28-30) and freedom from the yoke of sin (See Gal. 5:1), including freedom from addiction and even freedom from our sinful natures (See Romans 6:6)! That is the "rest" that God promises, friends. Complete and total rest!
So why is it that although we have given our hearts to Jesus, we don't have that total "rest?"
For the same reason cited for the Israelites in the wilderness: Unbelief ("So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief." Heb. 3:19). We fail to put our trust in God for our deliverance from sin, from addictions, from trouble, from worry in general.
When Israel finally did put their total trust in God's deliverance, they received the land of Canaan: "The LORD drove out from before you great and mighty nations; no one has been able to resist you to this very day. One of you makes a thousand run away, for the LORD your God fights for you as he promised you he would." (Josh 23:9-10)
In other words, when we truly give all of our worries, all of our temptations, all of our weakness to Him, when we truly take every thought captive in obedience to Jesus, only then do we have the promised "rest."
What do you say, friends? Shall we enter into our rest in Jesus?
But wait. When we read through the story of the initial conquest we see that God only drove out part of the nations. Why would He leave some behind, and what lesson does this have for us today?
Join us next Saturday for "Ultimate Rest," Part 3.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.