Heb 3:11 ‘So I sware in my wrath, they shall not enter into my rest.’
Greetings in the precious name of our lord Jesus Christ.
The recent incident of the flight crash in Mangalore has hit the warning bulb of my heart that we will see the son of man coming in clouds very soon. Earthquake in Sumatra , Volcanic Eruption in Iceland, introduction of national Id’s & chips in various countries etc. – World is progressing in technology from atomic power to nuclear power. Robots like My spoon have been introduced who can do all things ( just need few batteries). Nations and their leaders are after power and position. In the eyes of people, science and technology is progressing but the bible says “the end is near” and “the kingdom of god is at hand”. World is like a sinking ship. Actually it is not progressing. It is sinking- this is true.
This is a brief of the present world but what about the church and the so called believers or followers of church ? Are we progressing or are we sinking? The word became flesh and was born in the womb of Mary through Holy Spirit. The world did not recognize Him, except few people like Simeon, Anna, Mary, Joseph, the wise men, the shepherds and few more who were waiting for the messiah and who were not ashamed to accept him( like Mary). God is not going to take crowds. He going to take away only those who are eagerly waiting for him. Like in his first coming, only few knew him. Likewise, in his second coming also, only a few people will be taken and will enter into his rest(this is sad part but it is the truth). We have lot of examples to prove this. The crowd started the journey from Egypt to the land of rest, but only two entered the promised land. This incident of the Old Testament (OT) Israel is the foreshadow of the New Testament (NT) Israel. We know that the world is sinking day by day, but what about the followers of Christ?
Saint Luke 18:8 says “…nevertheless when the son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? Paul in his second epistle of Timothy draws a clear picture of this age in (Read) 2 Timothy 3:2-7. Not only wars and earthquake declare the coming of Christ but even the downfall of followers of Christ is a serious indication of his coming. Woe to that person who is carried away from the truth to different gospel and doctrines.
Now-a-days, we miss the sermon on repentance, salvation and second coming of Christ. We have preachers who preach 7 steps of blessings and 3 steps to resist the devil but the real old classic sermon gospel about the blood of Jesus is somehow missing. They have a form of godliness but they deny the power. They themselves are falling into the pit and in the process, taking large crowds into the pit. Now people need short and crispy sermons. One of the brothers recently said that he has no time to read the “The Living Rhema” and when I asked the reason, he said that it is lengthy and so, he has no time to read it. These same people have time to read any interesting news on the net or on papers, no matter how much lengthy it might be. We don’t have time to read the word of god, but sometimes are satisfied by reading some verses here and there.
What is God’s rest and why is it important for us to enter this rest? Where are we if we do not enter this rest? As I mentioned earlier, OT is a foreshadow of NT. Let us see why the OT Israel could not to enter the promised land. If we understand this, it will be easy for us to see where we are. Our forefathers set an example for us. Let us not make the same mistake. While we drive, we see some warning signs like “drive slowly, accident prone area etc.”. These sign boards are put on the basis of some accidents which happened before. Likewise, people of OT is like a sign board, warning us day by day. Knowingly, let us not commit the same mistake.
God created the world and everything on it in six days. On the seventh day, he rested not because he was tired but because he had finished his work. You must understand one thing today – that god has already planned and finished his work on you and me. God doesn’t change his plan according to our situations. He is aware of what we are going through and it was already planned ahead. He has inscribed us in his palms even before the foundation of the world.
Earlier Israel had Sabbath and they rested on seventh day, because god wanted them to be with him. They rested on that particular day like god rested on the seventh day. Remember Sabbath was made for men, not men for Sabbath. Now, instead of resting with god, they went astray from God in their heart. Keeping aside all their loads and resting with god was meant for Sabbath, but later on it became a tradition and men started living for Sabbath forgetting the fact that Sabbath was made for him. Sabbath was strong, but men were weak. So Sabbath could not give them the rest. So Jesus in his ministry called people unto him and said “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”. Jesus is not talking about any practical load here. He is talking about the load laid in their hearts. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls”. They rested physically on Sabbath, but their souls were laden heavily with sin.
So a person who comes to Jesus finds rest in his soul in this world but this is not eternal.
Eternal rest is when we are taken away from this world to another world with Christ.
You must understand the truth today that we have a rest in Christ when we are in the world but this rest will become eternal only when we are with him in the heavenly place. Psalms 23:2-3 ‘ He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul.’ We were under the bondage of sin and were carrying the yoke of Satan on our shoulders. But all who are saved will say with me that, they have peace and rest in their souls ever since they knew Christ Jesus. One example- In a family of 4 members, 3 of them lost their jobs. Now, they have to survive with only 1 person salary. They have to pay room rents, bills etc. When they called me , I thought that they would sound low, but that was not the case. In fact, they were praising God. They had no fear and doubts in their minds. What would have happened if the same occurred with any worldly family?
People around you are committing suicides for silly reasons but a believer who is going through more pain has rest and peace in his soul….It is because the yoke of Christ Jesus is on our shoulders. So we have rest and peace when we are in this world, but what about the eternal rest?
How we will reach eternal rest? Is there any short-cuts? Let me make clear to you.
Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life” . So you have no other way to enter his rest . The only way to rest is Christ Jesus. There are short cuts to become fat, thin, and to achieve your ambitions but there is no shortcut to enter his rest. John 14:1 -3 ‘ let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in god, believe also in me. In my father‘s house are many mansions; If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you’ . Jesus went to prepare a place for our rest and again he says “ And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also”.
God wants his children to be in his rest, just like he wanted to free Israel from their 400 years of bondage. He wanted to plant them in a place of rest from their enemies, a place where milk and honey flowed. But what made god sware in his wrath that they wouldl not enter into His rest? Let us see why the Israelites failed to enter the promised land and let us learn from their mistakes, lest any of us fall short from his rest.
Hebrews 3:7-11 ‘wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, to day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness, when your fathers tempted me, proved me , and saw my works 40 years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.’
This verse is very important to understand as to why the Israelites failed to enter Cannan.
It says ‘Today’, which means god has not pulled down the shutters of ‘entering his rest’ for us. It is still up. It is not yet closed and the doors of the ark is still open, like in the days of Noah. This shows his mercy towards us. The Israelites failed to enter worldly Cannan, but God wants his children to enter the Heavenly Cannan- into his rest
Let us see the reasons from this same verse of Heb 3 which I have underlined.
Why did Israelites fail to enter his rest?
There were three reasons :
1) Disobediece, 2) Rebellion and 3) Unbelief .
Read Hebrews 3:7-11
1)‘They did not hear his voice’. In other words, they were disobedient.
They did not give ear to his statues. So next question arises – then to whom did they give their ears? They gave their ears to themselves and foreign gods. They did not want the directions of living god. They walked their own ways and took instructions of foreign gods, which resulted in their fall in the wilderness. Because of disobedience, Saul was rejected, Jonah was in the fish guts &…Israelites failed to enter the promise land. What does this show ? You may be an anointed prophet or an anointed believer who has a promise, but if you do not obey his voice—you are nothing and have gained nothing…Did that redemption from Egypt help those Israelites who were disobedient ?
No, not all. You may have a good past experience with god, but if you do not obey his voice now, you can be rejected. Saul was anointed but remember, he dug his own pit by disobeying. Some people think that half obeying is acceptable to god…But let me tell you “half obeying is disobeying” . We all know what happened to Adam and Eve, who disobeyed god. In fact they were put out of the garden. God will not spare you and me if we continue to disobey him and do not heed his voice. Isaac heeded the voice of God and dwelt in Gerar and what was the result ? He sowed and reaped 100 folds that year. Who was Isaac ? He was the son of Abraham, who obeyed the voice of god (read Genesis 26:5); An Obedient father will have an obedient son !
2)‘Their hearts were hardened as in the provocation.’ In other words, they were rebellious.
There are several Hebrew and Greek words which are translated into English as rebellion, rebellious, and rebel. The first Hebrew word is “marad”, meaning “the refusal of the inferior to carry out his responsibilities to the superior (whether to royal power or to God Himself) and thus is an attempt to void the relationship.
The second Hebrew word is “marah” signifying “an opposition to someone motivated by pride; to disobey.”
The third Hebrew word is “sarar”, meaning “to be stubborn”.
The fourth Hebrew word is “pasa”, meaning “to transgress or revolt” indicating a violation of an established relationship by a subordinate.
The first Greek word is “apostrepho”, meaning “to turn away”.
The second Greek word is “anupotaktos”, meaning “not subject to rule”. And the third Greek word is “antilogia”, meaning “dispute, contradiction, or hostility”.
Rebellion entered into the world through Adam. He first rebelled against a commandment of God and ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, and man-kind has been rebelling ever since. As Eve was tempted to sin by the lure of having a great knowledge to be like God, every human on earth has or will be tempted to want to be his or her own god.
Let me ask you one question. If you have any problem with your brethren, can you worship? Or do you sing praises to god? If you do this act, against whom are you rebelling ? Are you rebelling against your brethren or God? Ask yourself.
Read Psalms 78:27, ‘ Even though god rained meat on them like dust’. V.17 , ‘but they sinned even more against him, by rebelling against the most high in the wilderness.’
(Please take time to read Psalms 78.) God did marvelous things before their eyes. Yet, they rebelled against him and provoked him. V.40 and 41,’ how often they provoked him in the wilderness and grieved him in the desert.’ Remember!! It’s only 3 days journey from Egypt to Cannan, but god changed their route. They spent 40 years in the wilderness. It was not the fault of god. Rather, it was their heart which made god to take this action. Some of you folks may think why god is taking so much time to fulfill his promise, and some even blame god for this. But it is not god who is wrong. It is we and our heart. Ask yourself, “where have you fallen ?” Repent and do not rebel against the almighty.
3)‘They tested me ,tried me, and saw my works.’ In other words, they did not believe (Unbelief)
They tasted god and then tested god– This is very powerful to understand. They tasted and saw his miraculous hand not only in Egypt, but in their every way. He led them with the cloud during daytime and by light of fire during night.…He did not remove his provision by seeing their sinful heart.
Dear Beloved, remember why god has not removed his provision from you. He did not see your good works or anything you boast about. But he is a gracious and merciful god..
Israelites saw the wonders of God’s hand. He divided the sea and caused them to pass through and he made the waters stand up like a heap. Dear Brothers and sisters, remember the work of god that he has done in your past… He made a way in the midst of the hindering waters of your life. He heard your cry when you faced the red sea. Now when he has brought you out to the other shore, safe and secure ,you forgot him and started serving idols.
Now you may tell me that “bro, we are not serving any idols but verily I say to you…anything you love more than God is an idol in your life.”
money, ambition, career, pride, children, wife, husband, job, car, mobiles, internet etc you name it.If you are serving and loving these more than God, you are an Idol worshipper. And you have forgotten God and are testing Him who brought you this far. Remember!! Unbelief is a virus which will kill your soul slowly…Eve was deceived by the devil and so, she did not believe God’s word. Rather, she believed the words of Devil. If your name is ‘believer’, then live like a ‘believer.’
God had a beautiful plan to take Israel to the promised land, but they perished in the wilderness. God did not redeem them to perish anyway. But because we now know why they perished, let this be an example. God has a beautiful plan for you and me. Let us be obedient and let us subject ourselves to his hands. Let us keep and believe his word and work. Dear Reader, God saw these three things in the Israelites and sware in his wrath that they would not enter into his rest. Let god not say the same to you and me by seeing our present condition in Christ.
Remember our resting place is not Graveyard but it is with God !
In the next Rhema if my author allows, I would like to glean
“ How we can enter into his rest”.
All glory and honor to God.
May god bless you with this message