At Home and at Rest

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!

4 comments

  1. The Message reads well. The idea of God renewing the promise of rest by resetting the calendar to Today, every day, speaks of His love and expectation that we can arrive to that place of rest. Like Phil the weatherman who faced Today repeatedly, his cynicism (comparable to disbelief) was chipped away as he became a servant (listened) for those he once belittled or disdained, until that morning he woke up, and it was, tomorrow. Phil rested, and we can also. Phil got there because of really good scriptwriters. We can too, because of Jesus who went through this life journey, knows it’s difficulties, and is our savior. I like the way The Message completes chapter 4, “So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help”.

  2. Well I suppose old age has left me a bore..I am most at rest in my bed propped up and surrounded by books and commentaries, exciting I know but my happy place for sure!
    We are included in God’s household because of the sacrifice of his son Jesus…Son is a familial term whereas servant indicates employee, someone paid for services. Son speaks of intimacy and closeness which we are blessed to enjoy with our Father and brother because of our adoption into God’s family.
    As part of his household, we get to rest in his arms unlike the Israelites who didn’t make it to the home he had promised…
    The word rest in the Strong’s concordance means to cease and desist…I thought that was so interesting….In legal terms a cease and desist letter is issued to someone warning them to stop whatever it is they are doing and quit doing it for good, or there will be consequences…The text here seems to be saying the same…It is a warning, God pleading with us to stop striving, stop running, stop going our own way and, as Marqueta quoted,” turn to Him and take what he’s so ready to give, take the mercy, accept the help”! In other words, rest in Him where the only real rest resides!!
    The word of God being a scalpel is part of the relief… Facing the truth about ourselves, getting real before God and others free’s us from the striving of keeping up the facade that we have it all together, that we can do this on our own. It allows us to accept His help, His peace and His grace!!

    1. Well said! I think being transparent is a societal problem, the heritage of our forbears who generally ‘kept up appearances’. It’s a struggle, this independant facade, that I have heard many say, “Well, I didn’t want to be a burden”. I’m guilty of this, not wanting to bother anyone, embarrassed to admit I need help, and yet this is what ‘the body’ of Christ is all about, being REALLY real with each other! And being real, as you say Julie, allows us to accept his gift. His own words,
      “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

  3. I knew a guy who claimed to be a Christian, but who totally fabricated his familial history and had repeatedly molested his little sister. When she confronted him he pulled the Cowards Move, and denied, denied, denied. He passed on his mother’s lies about her husband, their stepfather, who had begun the marriage first having a friend of his call and tell her he was dead, to “see if she really loves him”. Two of her adult children remember her years and grief from that day, to this day. She married the man anyway, who also lied about having two pro football players as sons, and that he was a WW2 UDT guy, though his name appears on no UDT team lists (stolen valor). The sister this man molested, however, she went on to become a decorated war veteran, and I’ve personally seen her credentials and evidence. She is fairly well known even to this day by the men and women she served bravely with, who now with in a private capacity in the middle East. Yet, this Christian tries to harm her so by telling people, probably due to his fear of what she knows about him and his own inferiority complex, that ‘service skipped a generation in his family”. IOW, his can a man who claims a discipleship to the Living God and his son, the King of kings, find any ‘rest’ at ask when he so strangles even the concept of ‘truth’ while supporting lies and letting himself? Who practices a despicable form of cowardice by trying to erase his sisters history and prepping up the FALSE history of a man he’s not even blood kin to? How can he find any rest at all, or ask forgiveness from God when he is too cowardly to go to his sister and ask HER forgiveness for sexually battering her as a little girl and then dishonoring her commended service to her country? His duplicity, cowardice, hypocrisy, degradation of Gods spiritual laws (that do have repurcussions in Reality by destroying human interdependence/,trust, etc), dare to offend the fact of Gods omniscience? I know this guy and his family, and he is false in many ways to several of them which they have had to put up with for many years. So, if *this* guy, this scoundrel and abuser, CAN find ‘rest’, I would assert there must be a clear and distinguished difference between Gods Rest promised through His Holiness, and the ‘rest’ that comes from the flesh, Darkness, and Rationalization of the stained hypocrisy of the Human Ego, which will do anything to avoid coming into the Light. I would suggest that this very distinct and serious difference be made clear to those who ‘name the Name of Christ’, so that they can go to God in prayer with *true* repentance. Christ was *very* clear that if you offend your brother (or mother, father, sister, brother, aunt/uncle, friend, etc), that you are to go to then and humble yourself by asking *their* forgiveness as well, and refusing to do so is a willful disobedience to His instruction. There is *no rest for the wicked*. Never. It would impugne Gods Righteousness, and that will never go unchallenged by Him. I truly believe this guy, this ‘type’, if you will, of proclaimed Christian is the type that God speaks of when He repeatedly mentions those who use His Name but their hearts are not with Him; that they abide in Wickedness because their lies honor Satan; that they weaken the spiritual armor of the larger Body of Christ; that they are chaff, dross, and unfit to enter the Kingdom of God; that they are actually in the wider path, not the narrow; that their perpetuation of sin within their own bloodline will carry on to the seventh generation; and that they cause other Christians to stumble when their evil deeds are finally revealed or they confess to their hypocrisy (because their charade undermines Trust between people). So, there is NOWHERE in Gods teachings and spiritual laws where ‘rest’ is could be granted by those who refuse to acknowledge and face the facts of their own actions, but rather prefer to rationalize them.

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