"Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it" (Hebrews 4:1).
Hebrews chapter 3-4 discusses an intriguing concept: the rest for the people of God. Our text exhorts us to fear, lest we miss the rest. What is this rest that the author discusses and how do Christians give diligence to enter into it?
Hebrews 3:8-11 is an exact quote of Psalm 95: "Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness. . . . So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest." These Jews had seen the miracles, been spared the death angel, were baptized through the Red Sea, and been led to the Promised Land. Yet their spiritual experience fell short because they rebelled at a critical point, and their life became a wandering in the wilderness.
But this concept of failing to enter into God's rest has a broader application than this historical context. Hebrews 4:8-10 tells how Joshua (here rendered as "Jesus") later led Israel into their promised rest. But David wrote Psalm 95 a great many years after that. "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God" (Hebrews 4:9).
The apostle Paul wrote: "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come" (I Corinthians 10:11). Our spiritual life parallels the Jewish experience. Do we fall short of God's best because we shrink back in unbelief? Do we prefer to make decisions based upon what our earthly senses tell us, rather than resting in God's promises? "For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His" (Hebrews 4:10). A promised land of blessing and victory awaits those who rest in God and simply trust Him. DW