“Trumpet practice at five in the morning?! Oh please….won’t you give it a rest?”
The final noun in that plea indicates a desire for something to stop. Something unpleasant.
When Jesus said “Come unto me and rest”, he meant pretty much the same. You are “weary” and “heavy-laden.” Come on. Put your feet up. Stop.
In the letter to the Hebrews, the word “Rest” is contrasted (in chapter 3) with unbelief. You either believe and rest, or disbelieve and struggle.
The fourth chapter (1-13) gives further explanation. It begins: ” Let us be afraid…!” A rather stark intro isn’t it? But the word is “Phobos“, where we get the English word “phobia” from. A phobia is something that repels and disgusts us. The NIV “Be careful” doesn’t really cut it here.
Let us be afraid of falling short of God’s best for us! God’s rest. This, the author seems to suggest, is a matter of critical importance. It’s like an illuminated Warning sign that cannot be ignored.
The story that he is using as an analogy is that of Israel tramping through the wilderness for forty years, upheld by the promise of “a land flowing with milk and honey.” There you will find the promise fulfilled. There you will find rest.
But -for us- is that a future rest (as in the tombstone text “Rest in Peace”) or a present rest? Is it now …..or then?
To answer that question you have to consider the writer’s point. The people of Israel didn’t enjoy enjoy the promised future rest because of their present unbelief. Amos ( 5:25-26) reflected on this, centuries later. “Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings for forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel? You have lifted up the shrine of your king, the pedestal of your idols, the star of your god which you made for yourselves.”
The thing I “fear” about losing my rest, is that having accepted God’s terms for life and death, I then proceed to live my life my own way. Check the pronouns here: Did you bring me sacrifices? No: you focused on your king, your idols, your god which you made for yourselves.
Where is the focus of your life?
It boils down to this: Are you casual about your relationship with God?
Words like discipline, self-sacrifice, self-denial are never popular in any generation. But as it says in Philippians 2 (12-13), you are to “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling…” Fear! It’s that same phobos word again: I must not take this lightly.
But how do I work it out? Does not all this translate into a”Try harder” plug? Paul continues thus: “Work out your salvation…knowing that it is God at work in you.” This is the emphasis of the writer to the Hebrews too. The word -the promise- that you have received must be united with your faith. You have to believe it, and go with it, and trust him. That’s what Israel didn’t do. That’s what I must do.
Although Israel claimed to be following God, their lives were not affected by it.
It cannot be so with us. Paul wrote that Christ “died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf… Therefore if any man is in Christ, he’s a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Cor 5:15,17).
“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest” (Heb 4).
Come on! Give it a rest!
- The Sabbath Day: Rest (apostolicrevival.wordpress.com)
- Why Jesus Won’t Rest (ericawiggenhorn.wordpress.com)
- Keep Your Heart Tender (myheartsmission.com)
- Rest of the Lord (motherlandhomewaresblog.com)
- A Time To Rest! (daughtersofsara.wordpress.com)
- Rest! (pastorron7.wordpress.com)