Hebrews 4 talks about rest for God’s people but no rest for the disobedient. Hebrews 4 and 4:5 is a callback to Psalm 95 and Numbers 14. The idea is this; God has rest for people to enter into but the disobedient do not and cannot enter into that rest.
The disobedient are called such because they refused God’s rule and reign. They did not want to submit to God’s authority. They wanted their own way and wanted to kill the leadership because they were tired of being in the desert. God’s rest is not for those who refuse Him, it is for those who follow Him.
What is the rest of God? The word used in Hebrews 4:9 tells us. The word is sabbatismos. In most translations, this is translated to sabbath rest, and the idea is a rest from toils and troubles. And this can look like a few things.
For one it is talking about the final rest we will enter into as God’s people. Revelation talks about the day when God restores all things and gives us rest from all pain and trouble. He will be with us and us with Him. It will be a perfect day (like not ending) that has no trouble in it. We as believers in the Messiah look forward to that day when we will rest with God.
But what about now? What about here? Can we enter that type of rest now? I say yes and we will look at one type of rest. Philippians 4:6 says that for the Christian, the follower of Christ there is a peace that surpasses all understanding. That is a type of rest. Peace is a beautiful thing that gives us rest.
When we follow Jesus, the world does not all of a sudden become perfect, in fact, I would argue that it often gets harder. This is because to accept Christ and the peace He gives and brings is to accept His rule and reign. We now belong to a different kingdom with a whole different set of rules. But we have a secret weapon, sabbatismos.
The rest God gives us can be external and internal. External is His provision. Internal is a peace that comes from following Jesus’ rule. The internal peace that gives us calm in the storm and rest when we are weary. It often comes from doing things that seem country to wisdom.
An example might help. Some years ago, I felt God leading me to leave my job and start a handyman/contracting company. We had one possible job lined up and that was it. To leave my current job meant leaving financial stability which meant my kids might go hungry. However, I was unhappy at work and needed more time for ministry. Once I was certain God was leading me to take this leap, I had immense peace. The money came in as we needed it until it didn’t, but we had peace and saw the hand of God providing. We had rest even though it was scary and hard.
The rest God promises is just that, a promise. We are guaranteed His peace. Jesus says, the Scriptures testify to it, and God keeps His promises.
Just a Thought,