7790 - Canaan Rest


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In our last study we mentioned at least three applications of the term “rest” used several times in the third and fourth chapters of the book of Hebrews.

Today let’s look at Hebrews 4, verses 3 through 5.

Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "So I declared on oath in my anger, `They shall never enter my rest.'" And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: "And on the seventh day God rested from all his work." And again in the passage above he says, "They shall never enter my rest."

On a time line, the first “rest” mentioned is the rest with which God distinguished the seventh day of creation. This seventh day is very different from day one through six. The opening passage of Genesis gives a summary account of what God brought forth on each day.

The word used for create was the word ‘bara’ which means to make from nothing. So each new act of creation brought forth something new, which was visible for the first time to the human eye.

The distinguishing verse for day seven (Gen. 2:1) tells us “...God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.”

In the Hebrew language ‘rested’ means he ceased his action, because he completed the project. This was “Sabbath rest” for God.

Keep in mind God wasn’t tired. His strength is unlimited so his ceasing was an act to commemorate the completion of the project of creation. From this point forward God had finished his creation work.

Man’s soul is capable of being troubled, disturbed or upset. For that reason God has provided for men and women to enter into rest.

In previous times we have talked about “God’s rest” for people. This rest is endowed upon people when they enter a faith relationship with Trinity God. This is a peace and calm of the soul — the inner being of a person, an attitude of the heart. It is a work of the power of God and is not gained by sleep or withdrawal from labor. This is involved in accomplishing the activities he has in mind for us. All of our faculties are involved — the will, the heart, the mind, the affections — our total being. This harmony within a child of God is continuous for those who live obediently to the Lord. As the opening phrase of today’s passage stated, we who have believed enter into that rest.

But there is a third facet of rest mentioned in this greater passage. We have talked several times about this portion of Hebrews making reference to the men of Israel as they came to the Desert of Paran, which bordered the Promised Land.

Now the nation was anticipating a ‘rest’ in Canaan. That is, they expected to have their own nation, to rule over their own affairs under God. They had just left Egypt where they had been subjected to harsh slavery for over four hundred years. They were eager to leave this behind.

But this passage talks about their refusal to trust God, and to enter the land and take it over as their promised inheritance. They did not believe the Lord would give them the land as promised.

So God pronounced judgment that these rebellious men would never enter his rest. That means, they were not blessed by inner peace and tranquility, but they lived out the balance of their years in inner turmoil and fear, and died there in the desert. They did not reach out and possess the Canaan-rest, which God made available, because they did not exercise faith.