At least one indication of unbelief is the tendency to measure life’s challenges against our own adequacy instead of God’s promises. To enter our Sabbath rest, we must put an end to self-reliance... – Charles R. Swindoll, Jesus: The Greatest Life of All
As a parent, I’ve always hoped my kids would value the things Libby and I value. Some of our values will keep them from heartache and consequences. Others will bring relational intimacy into our home. While I know part of maturing is discovering one’s own values, I still hope.
God hoped – and hopes – for His children too. If Israel had followed His lead, they would have experienced life. If they had trusted Him, they would have received His promises. One of these promises was the good news of rest.
But Israel didn’t always esteem the Father’s wisdom.
Hebrews 4:2 says, “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.”
Israel didn’t have faith that God’s invitation was best for them. They heard the good news. They considered the good news. But they didn’t value the message. As a result, the first generation didn’t enter the Promised Land. And while the second generation did enter, they also never experienced God’s rest. The land was in constant turmoil as God’s children lived in cyclical unbelief.
But the story isn’t over. The promise of rest still stands, as the Father has invited us into a second plan – this one better than the first. We, too, have had Good News preached to us. Our Good News is the same, but slightly different: the Israelites were promised rest in the land, but we’ve been promised rest in Christ.
Jesus invites us to “Come to me, all you who are weary… and I will give you rest” - (Matthew 11:28).
The promise of rest still stands. But our experience of God’s rest depends on whether or not we believe Jesus’ invitation is for us.
Father, I trust in the goodness of Your plan. It’s my desire to experience all the rest You are promising through my relationship with Jesus. May Your Spirit increase my faith and my trust as I lay down my plan before Yours. Amen.
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