Have you been resting? No I’m not speaking of what the world considers resting but of true rest in the biblical sense. The rest of God requires that we cease from laboring over things we cannot control. It’s the casting of every care, anxiety and worry on the Lord. Entering into His rest gives Him total control over every area of our lives. It also means we don’t go back to collect what we’ve cast no matter how tempting it may be. God’s rest comes with His peace that passes all human understanding. But this rest doesn’t come to us, we must enter into it. This implies that it’s a decision we make on our own. It’s readily available to us, but we must choose to enter into it.
Everything about the Kingdom of God is about personal choices. God loves us too much to even force a good thing on us. He will never be accused of making us do something against our will. He sent Jesus to die for our sins. But nowhere in scripture do we read that because He paid a horrible price for our redemption, that we must accept Him. He was rejected outright by the people He came to save, but He was more sad than mad. Luke 19:41-44. He knew what He was offering, but the choice was theirs and it’s ours today. Whenever you’re forced into anything there’s no lasting peace there. Contrary to what some have taught, God isn’t a task master, He is a loving Father who believes in our right to choose life or death, rest or turmoil. People ask why a loving God would allow certain calamities to take place. The simple answer is choices and the human will. If He stepped in without being invited then He’s breaking His own rules. He didn’t stop Adam and Eve from being disobedient, which would’ve made the whole world a better place, because it was their choice to make.
Entering His rest according to the writer of Hebrews is a personal decision. Let’s read together.
“THEREFORE, WHILE the promise of entering His rest still holds and is offered [today], let us be afraid [to distrust it], lest any of you should think he has come too late and has come short of [reaching] it. For indeed we have had the glad tidings [Gospel of God] proclaimed to us just as truly as they [the Israelites of old did when the good news of deliverance from bondage came to them]; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith (with the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) by those who heard it; neither were they united in faith with the ones [Joshua and Caleb] who heard (did believe). For we who have believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on God) do enter that rest, in accordance with His declaration that those [who did not believe] should not enter when He said, As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest; and this He said although [His] works had been completed and prepared [and waiting for all who would believe] from the foundation of the world. [Ps. 95:11.] For in a certain place He has said this about the seventh day: And God rested on the seventh day from all His works. [Gen. 2:2.] And [they forfeited their part in it, for] in this [passage] He said, They shall not enter My rest. [Ps. 95:11.] Seeing then that the promise remains over [from past times] for some to enter that rest, and that those who formerly were given the good news about it and the opportunity, failed to appropriate it and did not enter because of disobedience, Again He sets a definite day, [a new] Today, [and gives another opportunity of securing that rest] saying through David after so long a time in the words already quoted, Today, if you would hear His voice and when you hear it, do not harden your hearts. [Ps. 95:7, 8.] [This mention of a rest was not a reference to their entering into Canaan.] For if Joshua had given them rest, He [God] would not speak afterward about another day. So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God; For he who has once entered [God's] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors peculiarly His own. [Gen. 2:2.] Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell].”
Hebrews 4:1-11 AMPC
I would like to focus on verse 10 for this message.
“For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His.”
Hebrews 4:10 KJV
For he or we who have entered into God’s rest has ceased from his/ our own works. Our attempt at being in control of every situation, and have entered the rest of God, resting as He did after He declared everything good or passing His inspection on the last day of creation. God never went back to see if everything was working or going according to plan. He called it good and rested. Jesus did the same thing at Calvary when He declared that redemption’s penalty for mankind had been paid in full. Declaring it is finished! He too is resting. We having received our salvation through Jesus’ finished work are invited to enter into their rest. We no longer have to work at our salvation, we’re told to work it out. Put into practice what has been done in us for all to see. The message we just read on joy speaks to the same thing. Real joy is found in resting in Him.
When we have truly entered into His rest, we can sleep through the worst storms. Paul wrote these words having learned how to enter God’s rest.
“So no wonder we don’t give up. For even though our outer person gradually wears out, our inner being is renewed every single day. We view our slight, short-lived troubles in the light of eternity. We see our difficulties as the substance that produces for us an eternal, weighty glory far beyond all comparison, because we don’t focus our attention on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but the unseen realm is eternal.”2 Corinthians 4:16-18 TPT
That’s a soul at rest, that’s someone who has moved from hearing about resting to entering in. Our problem is we know a lot of scriptures but we don’t put it into practice. The Word hasn’t been brought near. Romans 10:8
“But the faith-righteousness we receive speaks to us in these words of Moses: “God’s living message is very close to you, as close as your own heart beating in your chest and as near as the tongue in your mouth.”Romans 10:8 TPT
At the beginning of the text we read why many didn’t enter the rest of God even though it was close by. They had no faith to believe that what God was offering was attainable. They couldn’t see how it was even possible because they had made up their minds that the giants were bigger than their God. They had more faith in their perceived problem than their God. They couldn’t rest. God brought them out of Egypt, they witnessed the supernatural but wouldn’t enter His rest. They chose death over the promise of rest. Every time we doubt God’s Word over any situation in our life we reject the rest of God. Remember, entering His rest is a personal decision. We have and know the Word, we just refuse to enter into agreement with it. Rest comes from believing the Word of God not the sirens of your circumstances. Jesus told His disciples that He would give His peace to them, but in order to live in that peace they’d have to be willing to receive or take it.
If we have indeed ceased from our labors or striving and have consciously entered into His rest, nothing will draw us out. We have to resist the competing voices beckoning us to go back to our old habits and be steadfast and unmovable. Resist the urge to take back control. Yoke yourself to Him. If He ain’t moving, then neither do you. It’s harder when we’re resisting but easier when we are one with Him. The rest of God is like a good night's rest. You wake up refreshed to start every new day. Your mind is clearer, your thoughts are healthier, you feel as though you can face any giant. Why? It’s no longer you who lives but Christ. He’s in charge of your rest because you chose to enter. You’re on His turf now. And He’s got your whole life under control. There’s nothing like it. I hear the words to a song coming in. God has everything under control, when things try to come against my soul I just say, God has everything under control.
Is that your song, your rest song? Let us enter His rest in 2022. The world may be going crazy, but we don’t have to participate. Jesus slept through a storm. He used the waves like a rocking chair. He had entered His Father’s rest. We can too. Remember, the rest doesn’t enter into us, we enter into it.
The rest God offers us will be fully realized when we enter into eternal rest in heaven. But for now we’re invited to cease from our self efforts and enter into rest that comes from taking Him at His Word. Only believe.
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit
January 26, 2022