July 30, 2013

Falling Short of God's Rest

Hebrews 4:1-5

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.
—Hebrews 4:1


As God led his people into the promised land of Canaan under Joshua’s leadership, he promised they would receive the gift of rest (Joshua 1:13). Many battles ensued, but in the end God provided the rest he had promised. Joshua 11:23 reports, “So Joshua took the entire land, just as the Lord had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal divisions. Then the land had rest from war.” With its boundaries secure and the threats to its well-being removed, Israel had peace.

What Israel failed to recognize, however, was that the Sabbath rest God ultimately intended for them was much more than anything that a tract of land could provide. God was inviting them into his rest, a rest that was spiritual and eternal.

We receive that rest, God’s Sabbath rest, when we respond to the gospel message in faith. When Christ came, many in Israel failed to receive him and the true rest that he came to provide. Yet, thankfully, God makes clear that “the promise of entering his rest still stands.” Just as Israel needed to trust in God to experience the physical rest he had promised, so too eternal rest is still available to anyone who will simply place their hope and trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Have you experienced that rest?

O God, we never want to fall short of the rest that only you can give! Thank you that the door remains open for all who wish to enter with a believing heart. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Shawn Brix

Rev. Shawn Brix has served as pastor in several Ontario churches. He and his wife, Jenny, have three children.

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