Thursday after the Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Hebrews 3:7—4:13 (NKJV)
3:7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice, 8 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, 9 where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years. 10 Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.’ 11 So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.'” 12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 15 while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” 16 For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? 17 Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
4:1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 2 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 in those who heard it. 3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: “So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest,'” although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; 5 and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest.” 6 Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, 7 again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. 11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
After a long treatise on the failure of the Israelites during their wilderness trials, the focus switches to the present-day reader in verse one of chapter 4. “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 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 in those who heard it.” Nine times we hear the word “rest” in this brief section of Hebrews 4. By sheer repetition, the author desires to keep this word and concept at the forefront of our thought. So the question is: “How do we obtain this elusive rest?” After all, the nation of Israel, with all her inherent advantages, did not obtain it. Therefore, we must be doubly careful—for the same devil who succeeded in the Garden triumphed in the wilderness and countless other locales on numerous other people would like nothing more than to add us to his total.
What then do we do? Fast? Pray harder? Do better? All these are bogus desires, because their direction is all wrong. They focus inward, when the solution to our doubt must be outward. We cling to Christ, for there is no good to be found anywhere else. God sent us a Savior because we needed one. He didn’t send a coach or a cheerleader, but a Savior. It is through Him—and Him alone—that salvation is given and sustained.
Prayer: Dear Lord, I believe, but help my unbelief. May my doubts be quenched with the knowledge that You alone are my Savior. Amen.