Rest And Accountability

God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that we might fail to experience it (Hebrews 4:1, OGV).

I’ve been fascinated by my recent devotional reading in Hebrews 4. For one reason, or one word – rest!

The word “rest” is mentioned in this chapter 12 times. And I must confess, I have trouble entering or living in the “rest” of God. Defining “rest” in Hebrews 4, consider “calm in the midst of any storm.”

I want that rest. Do you?

But there is a difficulty entering the rest of God – it requires obedience.

The philosophy of this age teaches “do what you want” with no consequence. Hebrews 4 says that when we listen and obey Jesus, we find rest, and when we don’t, the resulting attitudes and actions based upon our disobedience will take away our peace.

There is no rest without accountability to Jesus.  

For this good news — that God has prepared this rest — has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God (Hebrews 4:2, NLT).

There is a simple way to find rest. Hebrews 4 uses the word “today.”

God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today (Hebrews 4:6-7).

There are moments or “todays” when God speaks to you. If you listen, you will find peace. If you miss a “today,” God’s mercy will provide another “today,” as He desires all to find rest. But if you continue missing your “todays,” a hardness develops inoculating you against future obedience.

You never find rest.

No matter your guilt for the past, read Hebrews 4:9 over and over…

There is still a special rest waiting for you (Hebrews 4:9, OGV).

Hebrews 4 teaches that we have two helpers in our quest for rest.

First, the Word of God.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires (Hebrews 4:12, NLT).

Read and meditate upon God’s Word and your heart will be softened. I have learned hard truths about myself by reading the Word of God, and have found the grace and mercy to live powerfully in obedience without guilt when I failed.

Second, Jesus.

Jesus understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin (Hebrews 4:15, OGV).

Our Lord knows our difficulties. He already knows our sins, our thoughts, our strengths, and our weaknesses. And with this knowledge, Jesus speaks to you through Hebrews 4 “today.” 

To give you hope… 

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most (Hebrews 4:16, NLT).

Because of His mercy and grace, we can obey and still enter His rest!