The test was given at a testing center a couple of hours from my home. So I made a hotel reservation, packed my suitcase, and headed out with excitement and anticipation. I arrived at the hotel, settled into the room, and went out to treat myself to a steak dinner. When I returned from the restaurant, I thought, “Let me do a little refresher.” I opened my study guide, pulled out my flashcards, and started cramming. Minutes turned into hours, and the daylight faded into night. Nevertheless, I kept on cramming. I did not believe that my careful, methodical preparation was enough to help me pass the test. My unbelief robbed me of adequate rest.
Have you ever spent a sleepless night tossing and turning because swirling, anxious thoughts keep you from drifting off? Maybe you can think of a similar time when your unbelief or lack of faith kept you from getting the rest you needed.
Hebrews 4:1 explains, “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.” This good news comes with a sober warning: God’s rest is available! But you can miss it too. The type of rest that the writer of Hebrews is talking about is a literal repose. It is not a euphemism for death or the afterlife; according to Strong’s Concordance its literal Greek translation (katapausis)indicates a cessation from work (The Interlinear Bible).
Hebrews 4:2 repeats the promise and warning, “For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.” Whenever a principle in Scripture repeats, it is important! Back-to-back these verses teach that the same promise of rest was made, yet one group did not combine what they heard with faith. Faith in God’s promises produces rest.
A few hours into my evening cramming, I realized that I needed to stop studying and rest. Even though I finished the exam exhausted, I passed the test the next day! My one regret from that situation is that I should have activated my faith in the careful preparation I made for the test. My unbelief and self-doubt robbed me of the rest I needed. I learned that rest is necessary to do my best at whatever task I face.
The author reminds us in Hebrews 4:4 that after a busy week of creation, God himself rested on the seventh day. If God instituted the pattern for regular rest periods, shouldn’t we as women take his lead? What keeps women from entering into rest? Could it be unbelief or self-doubt? Do you believe that if you stopped serving, cleaning, teaching, cooking, and working, your household would crash down around you? Is your constant busyness a symptom of unbelief? If it is, Hebrews has good news. Mix a little faith with the promise God has extended to you. Rest for a minute. God has offered you rest; take him up on it!
Reference: The Interlinear Bible: Hebrew - Greek - English. Jay P. Green, translator, Hendrickson. 2011.
Memory Verse: “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.” Hebrews 4:9-10
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