Friday, November 24, 2006

Rest Sweet Rest

For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
Heb. 4:10-11

God had prepared a marvelous land for His people, a land full of milk and honey, a land overflowing with the abundance of minerals and trees, a land of rivers and streams. Yet in spite of all this, Israel disobeyed God through unbelief, and a whole generation perished in the wilderness. Of the men over 20, only Caleb and Joshua were granted the right to enter in and possess the good land.

This story gives us great pause to consider the consequences of disobeying a holy and righteous God. After all the miracles God had shown Israel and His mighty deliverance through the Red sea and the wilderness, still a rebellious Israel doubted God's word and grumbled and complained in the wilderness. Because of that they were prevented from enjoying what their eyes had seen.

While obviously the spiritual ramifications are huge in this story. The Old Testament was not written simply as an historical book, or as a bunch of nice little fairy tales, but "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." Rom. 15:4
Therefore it behooves us to understand the application of this story to our christian lives today. We know that God had promised Israel rest from her enemies, and a land to call their own where they could have peace and security from their foes. While they were in Egypt they had worked like animals as slaves of Pharaoh. There is a beautiful picture of our salvation in the exodus of Israel from Egypt. Throughout scripture Egypt has been referred to as the world. Consider the following verses:

By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
Heb. 11:29

Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
1 Cor. 10:1-11

Why did Paul mention this? It was because he was giving the Corinthians a stern warning on what would happen should they continue in disobedience and sin. Here was his reason for quoting these verses;

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
1 Cor. 9:24-27

Paul was comparing the christian life to a race and urging his readers on to the finish line. Obviously there were things that could disqualify a person from receiving the prize, Paul knew that even though he had preached to others and been given the revelations of scripture, he was capable of missing out simply by allowing his sinful flesh to remain unchecked.

The goal of Israel's exodus was the land of Canaan. Yet many that left Egypt missed out on the inheritance God has promised them and instead wasted away their years in the wilderness. Sure, God took care of their needs as their clothing did not wear out and they never lack for food. Yet they missed the purpose for which they had been set free. They failed to enter into the rest.

Our purpose as christians is not simply to come out of the world, be a separate people and live happy, healthy lives. Rather God has given an inheritance, and this inheritance is in Christ. Christ himself is our rest, our portion, our good land. He is our meat, our drink, our true bread, and our righteousness. By faith let us lay hold of everything God has for us in Christ. May we not look back in regret as we see the missed opportunities of putting faith into action and seeing the mighty hand of God intercede on our behalf. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
2 John 1:8


Bhedr said...

Thanks for writing this brother. The Holy Spirit is speaking through you. This message gives great hope for the believer...thank you.

Bobby Grow said...

A very refreshing post, Jim!

Antonio said...


excellent encouragement!

True Christians can miss out on the "inheritance-rest" that God has promised in Hebrews. What a shame that will be! They have "missed the purpose for which they had been set free".

To co-reign, co-rule with Christ is the destiny for which the overcomers will take hold of.

Great read!


Antonio said...

I guess i am used to comments to my comments

o well

Jim said...

Thanks guys for your kind words.

Sorry Antonio, I didn't realize you were expecting a response. I do agree with you though.