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Wednesday, March 17 2021

Contributor: Esther Ikpe

INTRODUCTION

In last week’s study titled “Consequences of Unbelief”, we learnt that unbelief was the reason why the Church in the Wilderness was excluded from the Promised Land. Today we will be considering the first 11 verses of Hebrews chapter 4 in this study titled Promised Rest for God’s People. A rest many of them missed out on.

VERSES 1-2: REST & FAITH
“For as long, then, as that promise of resting in him pulls us on to God’s goal for us, we need to be careful that we’re not disqualified. We received the same promises as those people in the wilderness, but the promises didn’t do them a bit of good because they didn’t receive the promises with faith." (MSG)

What Is Rest?
It is a profound peace that does not affect whether you are rich or poor, intelligent or unintelligent, black or white. It is a rest that heals and makes you whole. Rest and peace are synonymous. I will use both words here. It is a rest that calms your fears and gives you a sense of stability to face the future with confidence, regardless of what is happening around you.
It is not a rest from work—it’s a rest in work. It’s partnering with God to do what He is calling you to do by His grace, and leaving the part you can’t do in His hands, trusting Him to do it. Hebrews 4:3 says it this way: For we who have believed enter that rest…So we start by believing.

What Is Faith?
Faith is confidence in what we hope for and the assurance that the Lord is working, even though we cannot see it. Faith knows that no matter what the situation, in our lives or someone else’s, that the Lord is working in it.
The Hebrew word for faith is emunah which means “support.” Faith is “the Lord’s support” to us because we know God is working in every situation for his glory. Regardless of what we think, or see happening around us we hold on steadfastly to this knowledge and see things through the eyes of faith and not our own eyes.

VERSES 3-6: HINDRANCES TO ENTERING INTO GOD'S REST & WHAT IT MEANS TO CEASE FROM YOUR WORKS
"If we believe, though, we’ll experience that state of resting. But not if we don’t have faith. Remember that God said, Exasperated, I vowed, “They’ll never get where they’re going, never be able to sit down and rest.” God made that vow, even though he’d finished his part before the foundation of the world. Somewhere it’s written, “God rested the seventh day, having completed his work,” but in this other text he says, “They’ll never be able to sit down and rest.” So this promise has not yet been fulfilled. Those earlier ones never did get to the place of rest because they were disobedient." (MSG)

• Lack of faith in God's word, rejection and unbelief in His word.
• Lack of knowledge of God's word.
• Trying vs Trusting
• Hardening of heart (this could come from past disappointments failure of people in authority over you etc.)
• When we start depending on our own wisdom, intelligence and manipulation of events in whatever we do, we ought to rely wholly on the Lord.
• When we also become arrogant to think we are something due to our past success or promotions or God’s grace we are enjoying and play down God’s glory.
• When we fret and worry and are anxious, unable to relax or have peace, even we claim God is in control yet we find that we cannot release the reins to God for His will to be done in our lives. Even though we know we serve a living God who promised “never to leave us or forsake us:” “who also said: “no good thing will He deny those who walk uprightly.” 'Those who trust Him are not put to shame.’ We struggle

VERSES 7-11: WHY WE MUST ENTER INTO GOD’S REST
"God keeps renewing the promise and setting the date as today, just as he did in David’s psalm, centuries later than the original invitation: Today, please listen, don’t turn a deaf ear . . . And so this is still a live promise. It wasn’t canceled at the time of Joshua; otherwise, God wouldn’t keep renewing the appointment for “today.” The promise of “arrival” and “rest” is still there for God’s people. God himself is at rest. And at the end of the journey we’ll surely rest with God. So let’s keep at it and eventually arrive at the place of rest, not drop out through some sort of disobedience." (MSG)

• It gives rest that is profound and that involves all our faculty. It is a rest based on HIS WORD Isaiah 26:3&4. Psalm 37:23
• It is the opposite of "akatastatos"- meaning unstable and restless in Greek. This is when a person is always scheming, plotting; very unstable and restless to do their own thing in their own wisdom, for their own glory. God is not glorified in their lives. They boast about who they are and what they have achieved, forgetting without God, they will be nothing.
• The opposite of chaos
• God is Alpha and Omega. He knows the beginning of any matter and the end
• His thoughts towards us are thoughts of good and not of evil to bring us to an expected end
• He has finished the work even before the foundations of the earth.
• It is still a LIVE PROMISE

An Illustration of Rest
Taken from a short piece in a book by Madam Guyon, author of “Her Sole Crime Was That of Loving God,”
She was a French godly and rich woman unjustly imprisoned by the Catholic Church in the 17th century. They deprived her of everything -material possession and she suffered so
much. Despite all these, she was still at peace and joyful- her mind and body at rest. This is what she said in her prison cell:

“I shall not speak of that long persecution, which had made so much noise, for series of ten years imprisonments, in all sorts of prisons, and of a banishment almost as long, and not yet ended through crosses, calumnies, imaginable sorts of sufferings. While I was prisoner at Vincennes and Monsieur De La Reine examined me. I passed my time in great peace, content to pass the rest of my life there, if such were the will of God. I sang songs of joy, which the maid who served me learned by heart, as fast as I made them. We together sang thy praises, O my God. The stones of my prison looked in my eyes like rubies. I esteemed them more than all the gaudy brilliancies of a vain world. My heart was full of that joy which Thou givest to them who love Thee in the midst of there greatest crosses.” This kind of peace or rest does not emanate on bases of material opulence, or fame, or political ingenuity, or intellectual acumen, or other things that exalt humans. This kind of peace and rest can only come from a supernatural and divine God, who only can give this kind of rest through obedience to His word and love for Him through faith.”

CONCLUSION
When We Possess God's Rest:
• It eases the pain we bear daily
• It refreshes and relaxes our minds and bodies
• We are able to lay down in peace, instead of torn by inner struggles
We are able to operate our lives in peace and achieve our vision and goals Our minds are calm and restful, not rattled by anything because we have God's rest.

Parts of this study was culled from: https://joycemeyer.org/everydayanswers/ea-teachings/living-in-gods-rest
https://www.cctvcambridge.org/node/127874#:~:text=word%20is%20real.-,What%20is%20God's%20rest%3F,as%20the%20Bible%20Dictionary%20stipulates.

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 03:26 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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