For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His, (4:10).
There’s no question where we are to dig in today’s reading, as ten times God’s Word speaks of His Rest, continuing the line of thought first raised in chapter 3, and quoting, for the second time, Psalm 95:11.
“As I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest,” (Hebrews 3:11; 4:3).
Consider His Rest
God speaks of His Rest; not our own. While in the Hebrew language of Psalm 95, His Rest can describe the absence of affliction or a period of relaxation, this Hebrew word also denotes a place. This same word that God referred to as “His Rest,” He also used to denote His “resting place,” and “the place where [He] may rest.”
“This is My resting place forever;
Here I will dwell, for I have desired it,” (Psalm 132:14).
Thus says the Lord,
“Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool.
Where then is a house you could build for Me?
And where is a place that I may rest?” (Isaiah 66:1).
Rest: 4496. מְנוּחָה menûḥāh, מנֻחָה menuḥāh: A feminine noun meaning resting place, rest, quiet. It is used in several ways to denote places where peace, quiet, and trust are present… Canaan was intended to be a place where Israel could find rest…The rest of God is not possible when uncleanness and corruption abounds… the Lord will supply a marvelous resting for His restored people (Isa. 11:10), Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.
His Rest is the place of His Presence, the place of His Peace and His Provision, the place without uncleanness or corruption; and it is the place that requires a means of entrance as some will be denied the privilege of entering His Rest.
And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? (Hebrews 3:18).
As the writer continues to expound on “the better things” of Christ, he explains that entering His Rest in the Promised Land required responding in obedience to the good news they had heard.
Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, (4:6).
The writer goes on to explain that because the invitation to enter His Rest was offered again today, through the writing of David, the “Rest” of His Promised Land in Canaan, was not the final fulfillment of His Promised “Rest.”
He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before,
“Today if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts.”
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that, (4:7-8).
And His Rest that yet remains for us, this Sabbath Rest, also requires responding in obedience and ceasing from our works.
So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, (4:9).
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy,” (Exodus 20:8-11).
From NIV Study Bible:
Since the pre-Christian Greek translation of the OT (the Septuagint) that the author and his readers knew well made no verbal distinction between the Sabbath “rest” (Hebrew shabbat)… and the condition of “rest” that Israel, if faithful, was to experience every day in the promised land, the writer associates these two in a way that suggests he saw in the weekly Sabbath-rest a sign and pledge of the promised life of rest.
And as was with the Israelites who were led out of the bondage of Egypt into the Promised Land, so it will be for all; faith in the good news is required before one is led out of the bondage of sin and enabled to enter into His Promised Rest.
For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile, (Romans 1:16).
And without faith, there is no Rest.
And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief, (Hebrews 3:18-19).
But all who believe and cease from the works of the flesh will enter His Rest as the people of God.
So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His, (4:9-10).
How do we respond to His Rest?
We are exhorted to be diligent to enter His Rest.
Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience, (4:11).
Being diligent almost sounds like hard work. But we are not called to labor for our salvation but to labor against the temptation to disobey His Word and rely on our “to do and don’t” list. Being diligent is necessary to not only avoid falling, but also to continue standing in the strength of the Lord against the enemy’s schemes and readying ourselves to stand firm.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil, (Ephesians 6:10-11).
After he exhorts his Hebrew readers to be diligent to enter His Rest, the writer immediately turns the spotlight on God’s Word, one of the essential pieces of the full armor of God.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, (Ephesians 6:17).
Let us enter His Rest by covering our minds with the truth of His Great Salvation as we depend on His living and active Word to pierce through and judge our thoughts and intentions that may lead to reliance on our own works rather than the finished work of Christ.
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart, (4:12).
Let us enter His Rest as we lay ourselves before Him in faith, trusting Him to uncover anything that would cause unbelief in His finished work alone.
And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do, (4:13).
And let us enter His Rest in humility and transparency as we trust our perfect High Priest Who sympathizes with us in our temptations. Oh, that we would not hesitate to bring our weaknesses before His throne of grace with full confidence that in His mercy and grace, He will be faithful to restore us to His Rest in our time of need.
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need, (4:15-16).