In this Seventh Lesson on Hebrews we see the Author of Hebrews continues with a sharp focus to convince his readers of Christ’s Supremacy. We've discovered that Christ is greater than Angels, the law, and even greater than Moses.
In the last lesson we learned about the humility necessary to receive God’s rest. God tried to give the Jews a home, but because of their unbelief (lack of faith) they didn't receive God’s rest (the promised land).
However, the next generation of the Jewish nation did receive the “rest” that God provided when they entered into the Promised Land. Who was the leader that led the Jews into the Promised Land? Joshua.
We'll continue to learn about Jesus’ supremacy, and we'll learn that Jesus is greater than Joshua.
Even today, thousands of years after the Jews obtained the Promised Land, God still offers to let us enter into his rest. Verse 1 must've made the 1st century Jews really think. It says that the offer to enter God’s rest still stands. This would make it clear that the kind of rest that God offers is more significant than a land, even a land flowing with milk and honey.
The Jews lead by Moses did not enter the Promised Land because they did not have faith in God.
But we, who have faith, even now, can enter into God’s rest. It's clear and consistent throughout Scripture that without faith it's impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
Remember what God created on the days of creation?
Why do you think God rested on the Seventh day?
Does an All-Powerful God get tired or need rest?
God didn’t rest because He was tired. He rested because He was finished creating. He rested because what He created was “very good”, and so He took time to enjoy being with His creation. Before the fall, (the first sin) Adam and Eve enjoyed being in perfect relationship with God. And God enjoyed it too!
God’s rest on the Seventh day is an example of the rest that He offers to us. He isn’t just offering us a chance to take a break or relax.
You can rest in the completion of your salvation. You can rest in the confidence of Christ’s atonement. You can rest in the love of God.
Some of us are constantly struggling with fear; the fear of rejection, the fear of the unknown, the fear of pain, the fear of death, the fear of hell. But when we rest in the confidence of our salvation we have freedom from fear.
When you are saved, NOTHING can take you out of God’s hand. This promise is important for both our present and our future. God's rest is for now even though we're given a hard task and promised a hard life. Even though Jesus told us that the world would hate us for following Him. (John 15) We can rest TODAY.
We can see recorded in the 1st chapter of the book of Joshua that Joshua led the Jews into an earthly rest (Promised Land).
However, not all have entered into God’s rest. Not all have received salvation. Because of this, God appoints a new day in which you can be saved. He has given you a new day to accept his offer of rest. That day is “today”.
How can we know that His offer of salvation is still open? Do you remember from our last lesson what Old Testament scripture the author of Hebrews is quoting?
David wrote Psalm 95 hundreds of years after the original recording of this account in Numbers and Joshua. The Author of Hebrews describes it as “so long afterward.” But he knows that the offer is still open even hundreds of years after David wrote.
Why is God’s offer still open? God wants to give His people real rest. If Joshua had given REAL rest, then there wouldn’t have been a second offer. The earthly rest that Joshua led the people to was just a glimpse of the gift that Jesus would give to His people.
The Sabbath rest of Heaven that we can look forward to will be for all eternity. In Scripture we see different descriptions of Heaven:
It's hard to speculate about the specifics of heaven, but we can know an important principle about it. Heaven is good because you are with God. In other words; if you don’t like God, then you won't like heaven.
In The Problem of Pain, CS Lewis describes it this way:
Is heaven literally streets of gold and everlasting banquets? I don’t know.
But I do know what the best part of Heaven is. It is GOD’s rest.
Late one Christmas Eve my wife (then fiancé) and I were driving from her parents home in northern Alabama to my parents home in central Kentucky.
Even before we left we knew that there was going to be some snow. But by the time I turned off of the interstate onto the final 90 mile stretch of Highway, the storm had gotten really bad.
I’ve done my fair share of driving in the snow, so, normally I don’t get nervous. But this was really scary. The road was completely covered. You couldn’t see the lines. You couldn’t even see where the pavement ended.
The flakes were so large that my vision was limited to about 20 feet in front of me. I couldn’t pull over without risking getting snowed in. All I could do was drive slow and follow the faint tracks of the car that had gone before us. It was dark. It was cold. It was stressful. It was scary.
When we finally arrived home, we threw off our winter clothes, put down our baggage, and went to our beds. That night we had genuine rest.
It was comfort, warmth, safety, family, belonging, and love. It was the rest that we looked forward to even when the storm was really bad.
For Christ followers, this life is that hard drive home through the snow, and our reward awaits when we finally arrive into God’s Rest. When we finally hear HIM say,
- that God’s offer of true rest would draw you to Him
- that God’s perfect and Holy word would continue to teach you about the supremacy of Christ
- that we would fall more and more in love with this awesome Christ
Reference used in developing this study: The Reliability of the New Testament: Bart D. Ehrman and Daniel B. Wallace in Dialogue, Edited by Robert B. Stewart
We pray this seventh lesson on Hebrews has blessed you.