Reflections For Life
ENTERING GOD'S REST
RUN THE RACE | The Hebrews Series
Hebrews 4 : 1 - 11
Pastor Joe Son
May 3, 2020
What lies after death? Where do we go when we die? Most Christians would easily answer that question by saying “heaven.” But do we really understand what that means? In chapter 4 of the book of Hebrews, the author talks about heaven and describes it as entering God’s rest. It begins as a warning not to be like the Israelites, but to fear the unbelief that can prevent us from entering God’s final rest. While we still have the chance, we need to strive to enter in to that rest that God calls us to.
This idea of heaven as “the rest of God” is not a new one. From creation all the way to the new testament, we see how this idea of “rest” is developed. After creation God rests from his works; in the wholeness of his created world, God and his creation in unity, in fulfillment. And yet we know that Adam and Eve failed to enjoy God’s perfect rest. After the exodus, God guides the Israelites out of Egypt to his promise land where God’s people would live in God’s rest, but they fail to enter it. And even the following generations, even after they get into the promise land they still fail to experience God’s rest. We see God continually reaching out to them, speaking the Good News to them; the good news that they still have the chance to enter into God’s rest! “Repent for the kingdom of God is near!”
And yet, generation after generation we see the Israelites failing to enter, failing to believe. Even in the New testament times, the Jewish converts who were the recipients of this book, were beginning to loose sight of this eternal rest and falling back to old ways of life. The same thing is still happening among us even today. Perhaps it is because we do not have a proper understanding of where we are going. Our understanding of heaven, of this final rest, is too shallow. We only see it as some place better than this world; no suffering, no pain, no hardships. But we fail to see the fullness and the glory that is this rest that we have in Christ. We fail to understand the amazing glory of being in a relationship with God that is fully restored and fully whole. We do not understand how wonderful it would be to be in complete union with God, to be fully in the rest of God, to be able to see Jesus face to face, and to worship him.
The parable in Matthew 13 tells us of a man who finds a treasure in a field. In full joy he goes and sells all that he owns to buys the field. Why? Because he knows it is worth it. In fact, it is even worth so much more than what he has! May the Holy Spirit reveal to us the wonders of heaven, the wonders of God’s rest, so that we too may cherish, and hold dearly onto this eternal kingdom! May we all strive to enter the glorious eternal rest that we have in Christ Jesus!
Questions for Reflection:
What comes to your mind when you think about heaven?
What are some of the things of this world that you need to let go of in order to focus on things above?
In this period of already but not yet, how can you experience more of the kingdom of God in your life now?
We pray that this exercise will strengthen your relationship with the Lord as you draw near with confidence.