A better rest
In Hebrews chapter 3, the author stated that those whom Moses led out of Egypt, did not enter the promised rest. By entering the promised land, the people were to experience the rest from the burdens of slavery in Egypt. However, those who came out of Egypt did not believe in God, they rebelled and, therefore, could not enter the anticipated rest, even though they did enter into the promised land. “So we see that they could not enter in because of the unbelief.” Hebrews 3:19, NKJV. Even for those who were in the desert, during the 40 years, the better rest in the promised land did not materialize because they did not follow God’s instructions. They were under constant pressure, temptation, and attacks from the idolatrous people they allowed to remain in the land promised to descendants of Abraha, and from the surrounding nations.
Because their physical rest in the Canaan did not meet their expectations, the Israelites put their hope in a meticulous physical observance of the seventh-day Sabbath. They convinced themselves that the rest God was calling them to enter, was the rest from their physical labor, on the seventh-day Sabbath. So, the seventh day of the week replaced the better rest God called them to enter. Even though God gave the Israelites specific and strict instructions concerning the physical observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, this was not God’s rest they were to enter. The Jews misunderstood the true nature of God’s rest they were to enter.
The author of the Hebrews reminds the believers that God’s rest is the good news, the gospel – The Messiah. “For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith of those who heard it.” Hebrews 4:2, NKJV. The strict observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, however, did not prevent the Israelites from entering God’s rest. The Jews failed to enter into God’s rest because they put their trust into strict obedience to the command concerning the day of the physical rest. The author of the Hebrews reminds the believers that the entrance into God’s rest is not a careful observance of commands, but by trusting in what God did on their behalf, in Jesus Christ. The physical rest from our daily labors is not the rest God called us to enter. The physical rest is temporary and ineffective. God’s rest, however, is forever. What is the true nature of God’s rest? Read the next blog.