Everyone has a place where they can rest. Personally I feel most restful when I’m at the beach. Oftentimes I’m out doing the hard work of surfing (which in my case means thrashing around as a turbo-kook) – but even though I’m active, it’s still restful. You get that, right? Rest is a state of mind and being. Where do you like to be, what do you like to do to find rest?
The Bible presents a picture of spirituality as rest. That’s something we’ll be looking at this Sunday in our study of Hebrews as we tackle the very challenging passages of chapters 3:1-19 and 4:1-13. Do me a favor and be sure to read The Message version of this passage, it helps provide a clearer framework for what is being said.
In 3:1-6, what does the writer describe the house of God being? When the word house is being used, we have to understand that it is most likely speaking of a household – not just the place a person sleeps and keeps his stuff but the children, extended relatives, servants and holdings that a family has. He’s describing God’s family. By whom does the writer say we will be included in God’s household? What is significant about the contrast between a servant and a Son?
The writer then draws an analogy from Psalm 95 which talks about Israel’s rebellion during the wilderness journey – how they refused to trust God to take them all the way past the giants in the land and ended up not entering the rest God promised…the home of their own. It’s a sobering warning to us. The Israelites fell short of getting home even though they had seen God do so many amazing things. They gave up when it looked as though it would cost them too much. How would we apply this warning to our own lives? What role can community have in keeping us on course?
Chapter 4 elaborates the idea of entering into God’s rest, drawing comparisons between the Israelites of the first Exodus and the church’s journey through the desert in the 2nd Exodus of Christ. What do you believe the idea of rest is conveying? How does the Sabbath become a picture of what it means to rest (v4, 9-10)? What does this tell us about how we enter into the household and rest of God?
The section finishes with a description of the Word of God like a sword, or a scalpel according to The Message. How does God’s Word strip away all the masks and pretenses we tend to project about ourselves? How is it beneficial to us to have those things removed? In what ways could this sort of honesty before God provide rest?
I wont lie – this section has some very challenging stuff in it. It may make us uncomfortable but I promise it will end up refreshing us as we dig into it. Hope to see you on Sunday!