In this series, we have seen that our ultimate
rest comes from resting in Jesus, from giving Him all of our problems,
our worries, our cares. But as we've seen through a study of the
conquest of Canaan, this doesn't necessarily mean all of our problems
will simply be removed. We have seen that God sometimes leaves
"Canaanites" in our lives in order to teach us powerful lessons in
trust, in submission, in humility and in faith.
To conclude this series, I would like to go back to the book of Hebrews, chapter 4:
"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. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world." (Heb 4:1-3)
Notice that in the first line of this chapter, there is a warning to anyone who does not enter into his rest: "Let us therefore fear, lest...any of you should seem to come short of it."
Take note that there are consequences for not entering into our ultimate rest in Jesus. We also see that it is not necessarily an automatic thing to receive rest in Jesus, it is a gift that we have to accept and put into practice in our lives.
What is it that keeps us from entering our ultimate rest in Jesus? The text is clear: "but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." (Heb 4:2).
Let's remember that Israel could have entered the Promised Land about 40 years earlier than they did. The reason they did not do so was simply because of their lack of faith in God. They became scared by the reports of the Canaanites, the walled cities, the giants in the land. They forgot the miraculous Exodus. They forgot the miracles of food and water in the wilderness. All they could see was the negative reports of the spies: "'Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South...'" (Numbers 13:28)
The good news is this: "For we which have believed do enter into rest..." (Heb 4:3). The difference in being able to enter into our ultimate rest in Jesus or having to stay out and possibly even being penalized for not entering in is one simple word: Believe. "We which have believed do enter into rest..."
This doesn't mean that God will simply remove every obstacle. Remember that Israel had to fight those walled cities and giants, and even after the miraculous initial conquest, God still left nations in Canaan for Israel to continue to expel. Instead, God uses these obstacles to draw us to Him, to teach us how to trust, to grow us in our courage and our faith so that when even bigger obstacles come our way, we will not despair, but we will remain in our rest.
So here we find ourselves, standing at the edge of the proverbial Jordan River. We know that God has promised us ultimate victory and rest, but all we can see are the "walled cities" and the "giants" (read trials, fear, persecution, illness, relationship issues, addictions, etc). We have the choice of putting our trust in God and Him alone and entering into that rest, ever trusting Him to subdue each of our giants. Or we have the choice of staying out. But in so doing, we will never enter into our ultimate rest...
Please join me in resolving to: "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matt 11:28-30).
If you have missed any of this series, please click here: Ultimate Rest; or if you do not have access to the Internet, please email me here
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.