“Let us labor, therefore, to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

Hebrews 4:11

It seems like an oxymoron—until we realize the “secret of sublime serenity.”

“Let us labor, therefore, to enter into that rest.”

Doesn’t that seem like an odd thing to say or do, Pilgrim?  Is there anyone reading these words who goes to bed at night and immediately begins engaging in calisthenics?  Not hardly.

But, there are those who spend considerable time doing mental gymnastics. . .recounting the day’s activities. . .going over tomorrow’s to-do list. . .counting sheep. . .grappling with guilt over the past or fears of the future, etc.

And, then they wonder why they find sleep hard to come by.

The Greek word “spoudazo” is used here for “labor” and also means “to use speed, be prompt, earnest, give diligence to, study, etc.”  Thus, it’s both an intentional and intensive undertaking.

Yet, again, it would seem some “earnest endeavoring” would produce just the opposite result—i.e., fatigue, rather than rest.

So, what’s the Holy Spirit trying to say here through today’s Manna?

Simply this:

“There remains a Rest for the People of God” (v.9).  And, it’s clear the anonymous author is referring to the Sabbath Rest talked about in Scripture; yet, he’s giving it new meaning and showing it’s more than a Day to be observed.

It’s a “Delight to be enjoyed.”  Hallelujah!!

While it’s true God “rested on the seventh day and sanctified it because He’d rested from all His work of creation on that day” (v.3b; Ex. 20:8-11), the fact remains that every day is intended to be a Sabbath Rest for God’s People.

When Jesus chided the Pharisees for having made the Sabbath a rigid, ritualistic, “letter of the Law” observance and criticizing Him for healing on that day (Mt. 12:1-14; cf. II Cor. 3:5-6, 17), He was showing them that the Sabbath was made for man, not just the opposite (Mk. 1:21-28; 2:23-28).  He wasn’t lessening the importance of God’s setting aside of the Sabbath; He was simply taking it to a whole new level of meaning and intent.

And, He’s still doing the same thing today.

Again, the Rest being referred to in Heb. 4:1-11 is the Sabbath Rest of the soul that awaits each one whose hope is solely in Jesus and His accomplished work on the Cross.  It’s also a “soul-serenity” that comes when we rest in “Who God is and what He has promised” (Heb. 11:6).  No longer are we like circus animals who perform for fear of failure and God’s chastening rod; neither are we like those who are on parole and always afraid of messing up.  Instead, we are pardoned, adopted children of the Heavenly Father Who trust Him implicitly and rest in our “acceptance in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6).  Glory!  Thank You, Lord.

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated December 15, 2010

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