19So we see that they were not able to enter [into His rest], because of their unwillingness to adhere to and trust in and rely on God [unbelief had shut them out]. –Hebrews 3:19 (AMP)
Can you imagine, being held captive for generations, oppressed into slavery, calling out to a God, passed down through the generations by your forefathers and seeing no apparent action for years? Then suddenly, He delays no longer! He breaks the bondage of slavery, makes good on His promise to deliver you and you find yourself amongst droves of your relatives leaving the literal hell endured for generations. How would you respond?
8Do not harden your hearts, as [happened] in the rebellion [of Israel] and their provocation and embitterment [of Me] in the day of testing in the wilderness,9Where your fathers tried [My patience] and tested [My forbearance] and found I stood their test, and they saw My works for forty years. – Hebrews 3:8-9
How was this even possible? How do you go from calling on God, seeing Him split the Red Sea, leading you day and night, experiencing His deliverance to provoking and embittering Him?
We all shake our heads in amazement and offer up what we would have done if we were in that situation. Right alongside, “well if I had been in the garden with Eve I would have”…
If is a magnificent word: two little letters that can bear the weight of eternity. If and Then, seemingly hand in hand.
What exactly do we perceive as rest? Could it be synonymous with peace? Are we seeking that wholeness, the wellbeing, the knowing and experience of fully trusting and relying on God? Or like, “if and then”, do peace and rest go hand and hand?
Life today is not easy, for Christians or non-Christians, either one. Society has become the gauge by which both measure their value as a human to find any self-worth. How can Christians be set apart when we are apparently in bondage and slave to the same masters as the non-Christian?
If and Then.
14For we have become fellows with Christ (the Messiah) and share in all He has for us, if only we hold our first newborn confidence and original assured expectation [in virtue of which we are believers] firm and unshaken to the end. – Hebrews 3:14
How do you share the peace and rest of God if it is not existent in your life? Do you have that peace? Are you entering into His rest? And how do you do it?
Genesis 2:2 states that God rested. I have read that the best translation in the Hebrew language for this word means abstained.
How does this fit for us? Jesus said in Matthew 11:28
28Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]
How does this relate to your life and your situation? Are you able to take your worries, fears, doubts, bills, sicknesses, marriages, children, employment to Jesus? Absolutely! But here is the kicker. Are you able to abstain, cease, and desist from picking it up again?
Has there ever been something that you wanted to get rid of, for whatever reason, and you finally found someone to take it for you? Were you over there every day, knocking on the door, checking on how they handling it? Or were your relieved and refreshed knowing it was gone? Why then do we have such a difficult time believing God will take care of us?
The Israelites had this problem as well and it cost them entering into their rest.
10And so I was provoked (displeased and sorely grieved) with that generation, and said, They always err and are led astray in their hearts, and they have not perceived or recognized My ways and become progressively better and more experimentally and intimately acquainted with them.11Accordingly, I swore in My wrath and indignation, They shall not enter into My rest. – Hebrews 3:10-11
These are the very ones that God had led out of Egypt. They are the ones who walked upon dry ground in the midst of the Red Sea. They were led by a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night. They ate the Manna from Heaven when they were hungry for bread. They gathered quail after grumbling about not having meat. They witnessed the very hand of God at work in their lives, but they did not enter into His rest.
Their perceived lack of provision, led them to turn, in their hearts and their whisperings and complaining, back to Egypt, their bondsman who had kept them enslaved and killed their children.
How different was their situation from today’s society? Not much.
How often have you seen God move for you? Those are the high times. We would praise Him from the rooftops and not care who heard us. But it is in our times of perceived lack that we falter.
We stumble when we fear He is not going to answer our prayer on time. Fear is what leads us away from God; it is what we see with our eyes that drives us far from the safety and comfort of His Spirit. It is what motivates us to pick and do ourselves what we have already “said” we have given to Jesus.
It is this fear that drives us from the rest of God and into the arms of chaos, deception, grumbling and complaining. The destination at the end of that road is, “I wish I’d never done that”.
Abstaining from something is never easy unless you believe the prize is worth it. How much do you really want the Rest of God? If and Then.
19So we see that they were not able to enter [into His rest], because of their unwillingness to adhere to and trust in and rely on God [unbelief had shut them out]. – Hebrews 3:19
Don’t let unbelief shut you out!
Choose this day Whom you will serve. – Joshua 24:15
The valley may be full of giants, but our God is with us! –Numbers 14:9
If God is for us, who can be against us? – Romans 8:31-32
I don’t know about you, but choosing to rest never looked so good!