The Promise of Rest
We read in Exodus about the gift of rest given to the children of Israel. How about Christians? Are we given this gift of rest? Do we need to observe the Sabbath to be entitled to this gift of rest? Find out in this article the inheritance given to believers of Christ.
Are you heavily ladened?
In Genesis Chapter 1, we learned that God prepared the entire universe ready before He created Adam and Eve so that mankind could enter into this world with no lack. However, when Adam and Eve believed the serpent instead of believing that God will not withhold anything good from them, they ate the forbidden fruit and the ground was cursed (Genesis 3:17). Since then, mankind had to sweat to make a living.
Curses are already broken
My child, do you know that believers of Jesus Christ, christians, are given the gift of rest? Do you know that Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33) and we who believe in Jesus, we can come to Him and He promised us a gift of rest (Matthew 11:28)? In Galatians 3:13, we read that Christ has broken all the curses:
But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” Galatians 3:13 (NLT)
In Hebrews 4:3-11, apostle Paul told us to do our best to enter the rest that is promised to Christians. So let’s first understand this promise of rest.
The Promise of Rest for Christians
God first gave the gift of rest to the children of Israel (Exodus 16:29, NLT). God chose Israel (Deuteronomy 7:6-8) as the model nation so that all other nations could see the love between God and His people –how the LORD delivered, protected, provided and fought for them. Hence, if we study the scriptures in Exodus 16 on the LORD rainning manna and how He led them into the promised land, a land where they live in houses they did not build (Joshua 24:13), we will have a good understanding of what is God’s concept of rest.
Here’s a quick summary of God’s concept of rest:
1. We work, but need not have to sweat (need not worry how) to make things happen. The LORD is our God who will make things happen. All we need to do is to pray. (Read Exodus 16:12-15 on how the LORD provided).
2. There are days for us to work and there are days for us to rest. During the days of rest, we can rest without feeling any guilt nor worry because even if we choose to work during the rest days, we are not going to accomplish much. We may even end up wasting all our effort. (Exodus 16:26).
3. The LORD provides in advance so we can rest with no lack. (Exodus 16:29).
4. There is no need to worry about tomorrow because the LORD holds our future and has already planned ahead. We can put complete trust in our LORD because He is faithful and His love for us is unfailing. (Exodus 16:19-20).
5. Our heavenly Father loves to lavish on us and bless us abundantly. (Read Exodus 33:14, Deuteronomy 6:10-14, Joshua 24:13).
How to enter God’s rest
In the blog post on the purpose of the Sabbath day, we learned that the LORD gave the Sabbath law so that the children of Israel will grow in faith and be sanctified and made holy. We learned that faith and holiness are the keys that unlock all the blessings that the LORD had planned for them. For Christians, because Jesus has died for our sins, we are already made holy:
Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
We must recognise this victorious and blessed position that Christ has brought to us. We are already made holy and the Holy Spirit of God lives in us forever (John 14:16). My child, when you have the Holy Spirit of God living in you, not only will you have no lack, you have power and authority (Ephesians 1:19-21, Romans 8:11).
So all it takes is simply to believe! Hebrews 4:3 and Hebrews 4:11 tell us that if Christians choose not to believe that God loves us perfectly and will provide for us, if we choose to continue to live worrying, we too will not enter into this rest that we are entitled to, the rest that Christ’s sacrifice had made possible for us. Our LORD knows that we are always fearful in this fallen world, so He has taught us to remain in Him and meditate on His promises:
But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!
John 15:7 (NLT)
With this promise from our LORD Jesus, we can confidently come to Him and rest in His perfect love. We can have the assurance that when we rest in Him (Matthew 11:28), we are protected (Psalms 91:1), everything will be well for us (John 14:27). We can let go and let God. We can trust in the LORD, knowing that He has gone ahead into the future to make plans for us. He has overcome the world (John 16:33) and peace is our inheritance.
If you are not yet a believer, you can pray this prayer to receive Jesus into your life:
“Dear LORD Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God and that you love me so much that you left your throne in Heaven to come into this world to suffer on my behalf. You chose to die for my sins so that I can be set free from a life of poverty, pain, defeat and bondages of sins. I pray that You come into my life and be my LORD and Saviour. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit so that I can lead a victorious life. I believe that from this moment on, I am a new creation. Help me to walk with you each day so that I am able to enjoy the rich and satisfying life that God had planned for me when He formed me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
If you have said the above prayer, you are born again by the Holy Spirit. Write down this date so that you will never forget this new birthday. You are now a child of God, you are a new creation. You have the Kingdom of heaven to inherit. You have a new life, you are called a Christian. Look for a church near you, start reading the bible everyday and walk with Jesus. You can turn to Jesus with all your cares and worries. He is with you always and He will guide you. You will be amazed as you walk this new journey.