In Hebrews 4, the apostle Paul provides plenty of doctrinal passages for Jews in the tribulation. Nevertheless, some spiritual applications can be applied to us Christians too. For instance, Paul also gives a lot of practical explanations concerning resting.
Hebrews 4:1-3 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
Hebrews 4:9-10 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
In Hebrews 1-5, God instructs us to remember the people who fail to enter into God’s rest. Thus God tells us to fear and keep that in remembrance, to keep in mind what we can do to return to His rest.
Whereas for verses 9 and 10, God offers that rest to us through our Lord Jesus Christ, that we may abide in Christ and rest in Him, and our labor and works may cease. From these passages, we can see that the application is both doctrinal and devotional.
In life, we may be bound by situations that cause us to become nervous wrecks and hence breakdowns. These passages are perfect for reminding us to have a little rest sometimes, to rest in the Lord.
To feel like we are resting in God, there are specific terms to follow. Notice that in Hebrews 4:1-2, these people fail to enter into God’s rest, which is why God warns us not to follow their example. There are certain conditions that they are not following.
First, we need to inspect ourselves if we are walking right with God.
Isaiah 57:21 There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.
God repeats twice in Isaiah 48:22 and Isaiah 57:21 for a reason so that we can always bear in mind if there’s something that we are not righteous.
When we go through a problem or struggle in life, we can ask, ‘God, is there something that I am not doing right?’
To overcome our trial, it is essential for us to self-examine, repent and confess under the blood of Jesus Christ to rededicate our lives and use the grace of God for good in the situation.
God clearly says that there is no peace in the wicked, so it must be a fact. Nonetheless, a lot of us always put ourselves in situations that allow us to yield to sins.
Why cling to the stress and uneasiness that result from our sins and cause us to be restless and live without peacefulness?
Every one of us has some weakness or deficiency that we need to work on. The problem is we tend to forget how much pain the weakness can cause us. Therefore, we always find ourselves coming back to the same problem. God does not always intend to punish us, He wants to remind us of the pain and weakness we need to fix.
Learn to rest in God’s hands, don’t take everything into our hands. If we do, then we should not blame God for making the situation futile and that we have to suffer the consequences.
Besides, when we live in sin, we find no happiness in God’s work. So we have to rely on worldly solutions to fill the empty void. We know that worldly things are just temporary fixes. Thus, filling the empty void becomes a constant, vicious cycle. This explains why many people always find themselves miserable and facing extraneous stress because the world changes way too fast, and it is a tiring effort always to have to keep up. We talk about things like social media, technologies, exposure to the status quo, etc.
We should lay our rest on things that are above, on God, not here on earth.
In summary, if we don’t rest in God’s hands, we will reap the consequences of our actions and sins. God has to chastise us. We will lose absolute joy in God’s work. Looking for temporary or worldly solutions stresses us further.
Hebrews 11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
Jeremiah 6:16 Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.
It says that at times we choose to reject God’s rest, which apparently can give us real rest, joy, and peace. Instead we go for momentary rest and temporary fulfillment. Is it worth it, that we go for momentary rest that comes with long-lasting stress after that?
Hebrews 4:3-5 says that God’s rest for us is confirmable. His promise for us is real, just like His other promises, which are all established as what the scripture says.
There was once a Christian who thought that the cross he bore for Christ Jesus was easy enough to bear, so Jesus took him to a warehouse of all the crosses and have him pick one. The Christian looked for the one that he thought was just the right pick. He found one, and God told him that was the one that he has been bearing all this while and still complaining.
This applies to us that we tend to overlook that God knows what is best for us; this is why trusting God is so important.
Genesis 29:18-20 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter. And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me. And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.
Jacob is willing to put up with the amount of work and the number of years he has to go through to marry Rachael. This is because of the love he has for her, as mentioned in verse 20.
Come to think about it; if we truly have the love for Christ, we would not perceive that the hardships that we have to endure to be mind blogging and painstaking either.
In other words, real rest means even during our trials, afflictions, and predicaments; we can still find peace through God.
Just be reminded that if we are always seeking a problem-free or stress-free life, that is not real rest. That is a fake and powerless rest.
Hebrews 4:9-10 ‘he also hath ceased from his own works’ . We know the rest is considerable when our works have ceased. Jesus also tells us to lay ourselves in Him arm, and take His yoke upon us. How loving our God is towards us, that He would always be willing to take care of our burdens for us.
Why resort to all the worldly solutions and methods when all we have to do is be sincere in our prayers to God and surrender all our problems to Him?
The best way to justify this is because our sinfulness always convinces us to go for instant gratification rather than trusting in God’s timing.
Psalm 116:7 Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.
This reminds us not to neglect the fact that God has been taking care of us all this while. We are just too busy and blind to realize it. We know God will pay us back for what we suffer here on earth a thousand times over in heaven. Clinging onto this is what we called considerable rest.
Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Jesus has promised us that He will be with us until we die or until rapture happens once we are saved. Matthew 28:20 is another verse to remind us of God’s considerable rest.
If we clearly understand what God’s terms and conditions to have peaceful rest are, we will have it for sure. God’s words do not change, but the worldly terms will.