For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them,[a] not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said:
“So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest,’”[b]
although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; [c] and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest.”[d]
Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said:
“Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts.”[e]
For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.
11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.
– Hebrews 4:2-11

The writer of the book of Hebrews showed his desire for his people, the Jews to enter into God’ rest. This was a rest that eluded God’s people. It was a rest that brought man into the quality of life with divinity. A position of absolute assurance and peace that is beyond comprehension.

They were a people who were cultured to live by the laws of Moses. They had to live by the 613 laws passed down to them. It was so tight and tedious that if you failed in one then you will be considered one who broke all. They had numerous observances and made sacrifices on a daily basis to please God to avoid being cursed. It was all about laboring in their own righteousness.

As the writer said when you enter into the rest of God, you cease from your own works (Hebrews 4:10), in the same manner that God ceased from His own works on the 7th day, and rested. Entering into that rest and living in it are 2 of the hardest things that the unbelievers and believers respectively will ever do, for we are hard wired due to our first father Adam, to “do”, and not to rest.

When God created man on the 6th day, what was the first thing he did the next day? He also partook of God’s rest because God ceased from His work on that day. His first job was not tend to the garden but share in God’s rest. His work started after rest.

Adam’s sin in the Garden introduced sweat to the brow and a curse to man that he would live by the sweat of his face all of his life. Where Adam had simply tended to the Garden prior to the fall, he now had to work the land to bring forth fruit. The fruit was to respond to his labour because it was cursed. Every curse on the earth find their root in this Adamic curse.  

When Jesus travailed in the Garden of Gethsemane before going to the cross, scriptures say He sweat as it were great drops of blood. The mingling of the precious blood of the Savior with the sweat of the curse would forever free man from having to live by his work again. Any man who accepts Christ by faith can enter into the rest that Jesus paid such a steep price to achieve.

Now man can eat because the land is blessed. This land is not a piece of property but a person, Jesus Christ. That is why he says “For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day.” They got the land but not The Rest.  

In this same Hebrews 4 which is regarded as the “rest” chapter, the word “rest” is used about 9 times in that chapter alone. The chapter gives us reference about the children of Israel failing to enter into the rest of the Promised Land when 10 spies said that they couldn’t take it. Paul says that they failed to enter into rest because of “unbelief” (Hebrews 4:6).

As believers we must work in rest by making the finished work of Christ or foundation, not by our works; The finished work of Christ is a new position where the ground does not respond to our sweat but to His sweat in that garden. We must stop trying to achieve satisfaction in the Spirit by our own efforts. These efforts, which are good, only show that we are trusting in our own ability to save, and not fully trusting in His ability.

Many have been deceived into believing that unless put their life in order through special prayers, fastings and other religious activities that God would not give them the quality of life they desire. So we find many who have become like Jews laboring under good works and sacrifices to please God in order that they will be blessed.  

We must note that God’s work of creation was a perfect work, as everything that God does is. Only when His work was completely finished, and that work was deemed “good” then He could rest on the 7th day. Christ’s work of redemption which is another form of creation was a perfect work as well.

It was when He said, “It is finished” could Jesus hang His head and “give up the ghost”. This is start contrast with the Old testament. While all other priests never sat down as there were no chairs in the tabernacle, our High Priest Jesus has sat down at the right hand of the Father, and is resting in His finished work. We have been saved so that we now “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).

Dear Believer, rest in His finished work today. May your only spiritual labor today be the labor that is centred on rest. Work from rest. Have faith in His finished work and sit together with Him in every area of your life. Your place of rest in the heavenlies is the place where all blessings are: in Christ. Don’t laboring with good works to get God to bless you. You are blessed already in Christ. Live knowing that, it makes all the difference in the world.

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