Entering into His Rest

September 18, 2015

Hebrews 4: 1-11
1Therefore, 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. 2For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. 3Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
“So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 5And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”
6It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. 7Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before:
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.
Entering into His Rest

The Word teaches us that when God lead the people of Israel out of Egypt they wandered in the wilderness for forty years because they tested, quarreled and doubted the Lord even after all that He had done and shown them. What’s more, Hebrews 4 tells us that even after Joshua led the people through the river Jordan and into the Promise Land they still never truly entered into the Sabbath rest even though they had instituted the Sabbath.
The Sabbath first came into being after God had brought forth creation in six days and it says in Genesis 2:2-3 “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” It is God’s desire that we now enter into the rest of the Lord. We are told that those who went before us didn’t enter into this rest because of disobedience. That Sabbath rest is a holy place and it is not found in the realm of natural doing and thinking. It is entered into not by the will of the flesh or the will of a man but by the Spirit through faith. We must first believe that He is. We must receive that He is the completion of all things in our lives and in our spiritual transformation. Many of us are still striving within our means and abilities to please God and curry His favor. His favor is already ours in Christ. Christ is the Holy rest that we are to enter into. He has finished the work. He has imparted His righteousness and salvation to us, now it is ours to rest in it. If we are still working to earn His favor, if are still living under condemnation and sin, if we still think that somehow we must get good enough for Him to receive us then we have missed the rest of God. The rest of God, His holy Sabbath, is when we cease and He begins. The rest of God is the relinquishment of our self and our self-efforts. It is that place where God is our all in all. We walk by faith and not by sight. We see our world through the promises and the heart of the Father. Our obedience and submission is to walk in the light of that Truth.
We will be challenged and tested even as Israel of old was, but will we murmur and complain? Will we rebel and be dissuaded from Him by our natural circumstances? Will we forget our covenant with Him, stray from Him and enter back into that place He died to deliver us out of? If disobedience causes us to fall away from the rest then it only seems logical that trust and obedience are the attributes that lead us into that rest.
We are called not to make the same mistakes as our predecessors. God has again led us into the Promise Land of Christ Jesus so that we might enter into His rest, ceasing from our efforts as we embrace all that He is and all that He has already done. As we enter into that rest the Holy Spirit will be at work in us discerning and showing us our true hearts and motives. He doesn’t do this to condemn us, but to show us the obstacles that are standing in the way of our rest. As we are willing to relinquish these things to Him then His rest will continue to fill our lives. We have a High Priest in Christ who has walked before us and experienced our weaknesses and our temptation. He is interceding on our behalf. Because we are now in Christ through our faith and trust in Him we can come boldly before the throne of grace and experience that rest that is now ours in Him.

Blessings,
#kent

The Place of Rest

September 29, 2014

1 Samuel 13:5-10
The Philistines assembled to fight Israel, with three thousand chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Micmash, east of Beth Aven. 6 When the men of Israel saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. 7 Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.
Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. 8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9 So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings. ” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.

The Place of Rest

This passage about Saul really speaks to the times of the testing of our faith that God brings us to in our lives. One of the most difficult concepts for us to learn and submit to is the “Rest of God”. We know we have God’s word and promises, but like Saul when fear is all around us and the situation is critical it is very hard for us not to get anxious and impatient.
Samuel was the prophet and priest of God to offer up the burnt offering. He is spirit man of intercession who spiritually prepared the troops for battle. What we have here is a type of the body in the fearful and restless soldiers of Israel. The souls typified by King Saul and the man of the spirit is exemplified by Samuel. How many of us have ever been in situations where we were trying to wait on God, but the situation was getting critical and God was running late? In fact, we began to wonder if He was even going to show up at all. It says of Saul, ” He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter.” Now there is an appointed time for the man of God, the spirit man, to show up, but God seems to often wait until that last hour before He reveals Himself. It is in the those last hours that our circumstances seem to be falling down all around and all hell is breaking out around us that we begin to get out of faith and into doubt, fear and unbelief. The soul starts succumbing to the same anxiousness that our body has been feeling for some time now. When we are in faith, trusting in God’s Word, we are in a position of REST. Quite honestly, in the natural Saul didn’t have much of a chance to win this battle against the odds of the Philistines in the natural. His only real hope of winning was to maintain his position of Rest in God. As so often can happen with us, we grow impatient with God, assuming He is not going to show up, so we take matters into our own hands. We do our homage by saying, “God bless the works of my hands,” and then we go about doing what we were going to do. When we make that decision, we just missed a crucial time in our obedience and position in the Spirit. We just set stepped out of our position of the Rest of God and into reacting to the circumstances, motivated by our fear and unbelief that God was not going to move on our behalf.
Seven days Saul was appointed to wait. Seven is God’s number. It is the number of His Rest, even as the scriptures say in Genesis, “so on the seventh day God rested from all His work.” We are now standing in the seventh day, the day of the Lord. The enemies gathered before us are vast in number. Outwardly we want to fear and quake, but inwardly in our heart and soul, we had better know that there is no victory outside of the Rest of God. Only in Him, in His timing and in His way are we going to be able to triumph over our enemies. The old religious way of doing it our way in the name of God isn’t going to work anymore. God is removing His Kingdom from the religious man’s hands and placing it into the hand of the ones who know how to wait. They know that there victory is not in getting in a hurry to confront the enemy, but it is in entering into the praise, worship and Rest of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. The battle and the victory must first be won inwardly, before it can manifest outwardly.
Saul lost his position that day, because he yielded to his anxious heart and his fearful body. He moved out of the position of Rest and disqualified himself from the kingdom purpose for which he was called. Many of us are finding ourselves in hard positions today. Everything around is screaming, “you got to do something.” The something we have to do is to Rest and wait upon the Lord. We don’t want to dare move outside His Spirit’s leading and His timing. God’s time isn’t our time, but our time must become His time. That is the place of Rest and victory.
We would close with this appropriate exhortation from Hebrews 4:1-11. “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. 2For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. 3Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
“So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 5And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” 6It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. 7Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before:
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.”

Blessings,
#kent

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