Overcoming Unrest [Part 1]
Are you ready for some good news?
No matter what you’re going through, you can rest in the finished work of Christ.
Today’s Text: “Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.” - (Hebrews 4:1–2, ESV)
In chapters three and four, the writer of Hebrews draws upon the image of the people of God and the Promised Land. When God instructed the former slaves to take over Canaan, they turned back in fear because of a bad report from 10 of the 12 spies. The Israelites felt like “grasshoppers” in comparison to the inhabitants of Canaan.
In unbelief, they refused to take the land that had been promised to them. It looked too difficult. But, as they would painfully discover, in forfeiting the Promised Land, they lost all opportunity for real peace. They wandered around the same mountain for 40 years making no progress. Eventually, the unfaithful generation died in the wilderness.
The writer of Hebrews calls the Promised Land the place of “rest.” The cowardly Israelites never entered the “rest,” but it is remains available to us in Christ.
It’s puzzling. The Promised Land a place of “rest”? After all, the people of God would have to fight battle after battle in Canaan. They would have to take Jericho, suffer setbacks at Ai, and fight the Amorites. The Promised Land was a battleground – how could it be the place of “rest”?
The Biblical notion of “rest” isn’t “inactivity.” Ironically, the wilderness (where there were no battles to fight) was the place of least rest. You can be on vacation, lying in a hammock on the edge of paradise and have no rest. You can be in the midst of a challenging task, completely at rest. Where there is worry, there is no rest. Where there is peace, there is perfect rest.
The writer of Hebrews gives us extraordinary good news: there is always “rest” available in Christ. It is a rest that comes not through human striving but through simple belief in the sufficiency of Christ’s work on the cross.
If you are facing some battles right now, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t in the Promised Land. Your promised land is a battleground. But you can “rest” in the promises of God which area “yes and amen” in Christ. And that’s the Gospel!
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