Hebrews 4 — A Sabbath Rest for the People of God
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One Reply to “Nov 23 — Hebrews 4”
“Therefore” begins our text this morning, “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it” (Hebrews 4:1). Boom! That’s a great way to start! The writer calls us to remember the people Moses led out of captivity–God’s people, the hard-hearted, grumbling, whiny lot that God especially provided for so many years ago. The “promise of entering” still stands, but we have a responsibility and God will not be mocked or disrespected. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (4:12). We are to “be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you” (Deuteronomy 5:32-33). I refer to Moses’ words just after the first time God provided the Ten Commandments, when the people were amazed that they could hear God’s voice and still live (Deuteronomy 5:24), Exodus 20:19: “But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” Again, we are to learn from the Old Testament, this is our foundation.
Remembering the days of Moses helps to frame the discussion in chapter 4. God made a covenant with Abraham, with Moses, with David and continues to pursue us as he offered his Son as the final sacrifice, greater than all of the forefathers. For the third time in a handful of verses, we are reminded, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:7, 3:15 and 4:7). Father, help me to hear your voice, to actively listen for your words, to do that which is right and worthy of your name. Clear a path before me that I may walk in obedience and keep from from wandering to the left or right. Lord may we all enter your rest, “let us hold firmly to the faith we profess” (4:14). Help us to properly proclaim Christ as the ultimate high priest, not as some idol to be worshipped, but as one who came among us and lived with us in order to demonstrate your amazing love. We should not be afraid. “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (4:16).
Words require action, but I think we hear so many words these days that we just get tired of hearing the call and stop listening. Lord, I thank you for this time of rest I have before me. For whatever reason you’ve allowed me to step away from responsibilities that demand all of my hours and attention. In this quiet rest I find it’s easier to hear your voice. It’s easier to spend time with my wife of 26+ years and enjoy the days we have together, knowing this will not last long. Help me to listen to you in this time of rest and learn not only for myself, but how I can teach others. Give me words that matter. Help me to speak clearly what you would have people hear (or read). “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”