Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,
“As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest,’”
although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this passage he said,
“They shall not enter my rest.”
Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”
Comment: I think that this is a pretty circuitous but fairly clear argument by the author. I will summarise it in points.
- Therefore is a warning word. The Jews released from slavery because of their untrusting actions died in the wilderness.
- There is new Good News in the Messiah who has come.
- God is not caught by surprise as He has had the planned rest ready since the foundation of the world. Judea was ready for the Jews but they failed to enter.
- God has Himself rested from His act of Creation by declaring the seventh day a day of rest for Himself and recommended it to everyone in the Constitution given at Mt Sinai.
- Now not the promised land of Israel nor the weekly rest day on the Sabbath but the rest of having a High Priest as your supporter before the very face of the God of Heaven, that is the Risen Jesus, offers us the rest of a right relationship with God.
- And the warning – therefore don’t be like the unbelieving Jews and fail to accept what Jesus offers. Jumping ahead a bit we will see that this means a lot in relationship to God, forgiveness for the past and a whole lot more. Patience and we will get there eventually. We no longer have to work at being good enough, not that this excuses us from being good. But we are accepted ‘in Jesus’.
Prayer: Without your help I struggle to grasp this truth, O God. Please help me in my understanding and simple trust.