18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed ? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.
(This is the first of a series of articles about entering God's rest. You may subscribe free and get these in your email by clicking here).
There are many promises for Christians, for God's children, in the Bible. Love, joy and peace being among them. So why do many Christian's not experience this? Why do many not experience victory over sin, which is another promise. The answer can be found at the end of Hebrews 3, where it talks about people who never entered God's rest because of unbelief. We have many promises in scripture, but we have to believe them, or to believe God and act upon that belief.
God's rest is a state of being in God's blessing and living in fellowship with God. But if we do not believe in the promises, they won't do us any good.
Fortunately there is an answer, and the invitation is extended in Hebrews 4, to enter God's rest. This series will examine that journey into God's rest.
The Children of Israel were led out of Egypt and sent towards the Promised Land. There were many great miracles along the way, proving that God was with them. They were told that they were given the land, that they would be given victory over every enemy, and that they would have prosperity in the new land that God was giving them. They were to be a nation of God’s own people.
They got to the banks of the Jordan river, and because most of the people in the scouting party were afraid, they refused to enter the land. God condemned them to 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, and the next generation did enter the land.
The picture of being led out of Egypt is seen as a picture story of our being saved out of our lives of enslavement to sin. – The word “Salvation” means deliverance.
But what of the wandering in the wilderness?
Often people see the period of wandering in the wilderness as the period between the time we are saved and the time we get to heaven.
This (Canaan) is the “rest” referred to in Hebrews, which God invites us to enter. It is worth noting that the invitation is to believers, those that are already children of God. The “rest” is not an invitation to salvation, but to receive by faith all the spiritual blessings God has promised his children.
The ancient Israelites did not have to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. They did so because of their unbelief.
The writer of Hebrews makes it clear that the ancient promise of entering God’s rest still stands. We too then, do not have to wander in the wilderness.
As the ancient story says, we must be delivered out of Egypt and into Canaan, our promised land is where we have all of God’s blessings and protection as we have close fellowship with Him. The only thing that can hold us back is unbelief. The writer of Hebrews encourages us to not be like the people of ancient Israel, but to have faith and enter into God’s rest instead of saying out in the wilderness.
As Warren Weirsbe says in one of his books.
Most people are still in bondage in Egypt and need to be delivered by faith in Jesus Christ. Others have trusted Christ and been delivered from bondage but are wandering in the wilderness of unbelief because they won’t enter into their inheritance by faith. Still others have “sampled” the inheritance but prefer to live on the borders of the blessing. Finally, there are those who follow their Joshua (Jesus = “Jehovah is salvation”) and enter the Promised Land and claim their inheritance.