Entering Into the Lord’s Rest!
“Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest … Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
One of the most difficult challenges we all face is taking sufficient time to rest. This might explain why the Bible encourages us to “learn to rest from our own labour as God did”so that none of us should seem to come short of it. The reference to “it” being that none of us should miss out on the rest that our Lord God and Saviour promised to those who believe in Him.
Therefore, since the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be careful that none of us are found to have fallen short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached as well as unto them; but the Word preached did not profit them [the message they heard was of no value to them] because those who heard the gospel preached did not combine it with faith. But we which have believed do enter into rest, as He said, “As I have sworn in My wrath, they shall not enter into My rest,” although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. (Hebrews 4:1-3)
One of the questions that emerges is this. When the Lord refers to “rest” is He referring to resting every seventh day (as was the tradition under the Law in the old covenant) or did He mean specifically the Sabbath rest on the first day of the week? Was the reference to “Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.” (Exodus 23:12) Or, was there another rest? Specifically, the rest referred to in Matthew 11:29 that states: “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
Certainly, if the former would be the case, we must note that the Israelite’s — who religiously observed the Sabbath from the time the law was given in the wilderness — did not please God. As a consequence, God went so far as to declare an oath, stating: ‘They shall never enter my rest. ”
For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.” (Isaiah 30:15)
So, obviously this is not the “rest” that you and I as believers by faith are encouraged to partake in –as referenced in the New Testament. Something else must be the focal point here. An underlying meaning that we need to examine more intently. In this context, let’s begin with an example that is easy to understand.
Have you ever talked to someone who has recently returned home from a mission trip? These people might have been drilling a well or raising a church building or sharing the good news gospel of Jesus Christ on the streets? What is the first thing we notice?
Yes, you are so right. We notice their enthusiasm. Indeed, it is remarkable to see how enthusiastic these folks are when sharing their experience with others. This enthusiasm, in spite of the fact that in many situations, they have been working harder, living in more difficult conditions and possibly even having to pay their own expenses. Under normal circumstances, this would have been stressful. But as we know, this is not the case.
So what is going on here? Are they out of this world or what?
Well, in some cases, one might say just that — these people are out of this world. However. that wouldn’t entirely be true. What is happening is that these same people have “rested from their own work” to take hold of the love endeavor of the Kingdom of God. In this latter context, the labour does not even feel like work. Instead, the labour becomes more like a worship service — whereby people willingly worship our Lord Jesus Christ as they share His Gospel of the Kingdom.
“Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him: fret not thyself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass.” (Psalms 37:7)
This, my friends is the taste of that amazing rest that our Lord Jesus prepared for us since the creation of the world. This rest is available to us not only on Sabbath or holy days, or Sundays, but 24/7. The rest that we are to partake in is available to us wherever and in whatever situation we might find ourselves in.
From the Word:
“He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalms 91:1)
“Be still, and know that I [am] God.” (Psalms 46:10)
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 15:13)
“The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
“The fear of the LORD [tends] to life: and [he that hath it] shall abide satisfied.” (Proverbs 19:23)
To some readers, this might sound too good to be true. Some might even say that they can’t believe that God has a particular rest for His people. They would not be alone. In fact, as Hebrews 4:2 states: “For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.”