A Little Rest

     Everybody is busy these days. That may seem like an overstatement but I don’t know many people who do not have their days filled to the overflowing with things that have to be done, or at least, things we are convinced have to be done.

Maybe we do let ourselves get too busy. I’ve heard people talk about how folks ought to slow down a bit. Often the person giving that advice is in a hurry to go somewhere and do something. Ha! I’m not sure what the practical solution is in our part of this old world. A friend down in Guyana always tells me “Americans work too hard!” Perhaps, but that ship has sailed. We like to plan our work and work our plan. Even the “retired” folks I know work pretty hard at staying busy. We take Ephesians 4:28 and 2 Thessalonians 3:10 seriously.

     But sooner or later we all need a little rest. We have all felt the relief at the end of a long day of knowing that this day’s work is done. Tomorrow’s work will surely come, but first we need some rest. And if we try to go too long without rest we pay a price of diminished efficiency and, in the long run, prematurely damaged health.

     God taught us this from the very beginning. He took six days to create and make everything, then He rested from His labor (Genesis 2:1-2). I don’t know any Bible believer who thinks God was tired. God is infinitely powerful and thus He doesn’t get tired. The word “rest” has in it the essential meaning of “stopping or ceasing” the activity in which one has been involved. God stopped doing what He was doing because He was finished doing it. He also rested to teach us that we need to rest.

     Of course, there is a rest that is more important than the rest we need from our work. We are reminded of this every day. Most of us have to sleep, at least a little. Most of us have also done some “all-nighters” perhaps for school or to stay up with a friend or family member in distress. We can do that for a while, but sooner than later, sleep will come. Whether we are ready for it or not! God made us to be physically in tune with the sun and moon.

     So, we have the rest we need from work and the rest we need each night in sleep. God used these realities to teach us that there is a rest that waits for us, our rest in Heaven. In Hebrews 3 and 4 Paul was encouraging those Christians to remain faithful to the Lord. He did not want them to go back to the Law of Moses. He wanted them to stay where they were, which was in Christ. He used the example of Israel. Israel did not enter the rest of the promised land because they were unfaithful at the foot of Mount Sinai. Thus we have Hebrews 4:1: “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.”

     The rest Paul spoke of here is indeed, in our future. The word “rest” in this verse is being used to stand for our final rest in Heaven. The word “rest” in the Psalms (quoted in Hebrews 4) was written long after the conquest of the promised land, thus the statement that our “rest” remains in place for us. “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9).

     God, though His love, grace and mercy provides the blessing of this wonderful place of infinite rest. We do, however, bear a responsibility in this matter. Because of unbelief Israel faced a forty year delay before she could enter the rest of that promised land. People of a certain age, including Moses, missed that particular rest.

The last thing any of us wants to do is miss our final rest with God. Therefore we remain faithful, always trusting in our Lord (Revelation 2:10).