The Promised Rest
Open Your Bible
Hebrews 4:1-13, Psalm 95:7-11, 1 Peter 1:3-5
BY Guest Writer
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 4:1-13, Psalm 95:7-11, 1 Peter 1:3-5
The promised rest.
In today’s busy culture, especially in the United States, that phrase seems too good to be true. I tend to crave rest in different ways, depending on the season I’m in. When I was in college, running myself ragged, I would have given anything for a quick cat nap during the day, but now I just long for a solid eight hours of sleep at night.
The kind of rest described in Hebrews chapter 4 is not the nap our bodies beg for after a busy day. God invited the Israelites into His rest, into the Sabbath, when they were wandering in the wilderness. However, they rebelled and did not enter into His rest because of their disobedient, discontented hearts. We are offered this same rest; it is promised to us because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. But the full Sabbath, the truest rest promised to us by God, will not occur until we are face to face with our Maker in eternity.
In the meantime, of course, God gives us a Sabbath each week—a day to rest, reconnect with God, and recenter our lives around Him. But if I’m honest, a real Sabbath feels unattainable to me today. Maybe the busyness our culture has come to call “normal” speaks to our true priorities. Or maybe we’re just looking at the Sabbath through the wrong lens.
What if practicing the Sabbath includes sinking our teeth into the things that provide us with a taste of heaven? What if it’s savoring the morning light as it streams through our curtains, or relishing the feeling of propping our feet up on the coffee table after a long day of work? What if rest comes in cherishing moments of laughter and tears with the people around us who pull us closer to Jesus? What if we were to breathe all of this in as it happens, thanking God for these things in the moment, with the knowledge that our ultimate rest—our eternal salvation—is secure in Christ?
The true rest we long for will not fully come this side of heaven. The author of Hebrews tells us “a Sabbath rest remains for God’s people” (4:9). He encourages us to “make every effort to enter that rest” (v.11). The price has already been paid by Jesus. The “effort” we now make is to remain in Him as He remains in us (John 15:4). So we continue the work He’s given us to do, living in the tension that the kingdom of God is here and now, but also still to come and greater than we can imagine. We keep leaning in to God for strength as He builds His kingdom through us. And we find Sabbath rest where we are, in the presence of God Most High.
Ellen Taylor was born and raised in sweet home Alabama, but has called Nashville home since 2013. When she’s not working as the editorial assistant at She Reads Truth, you can find her enjoying good food and good conversation with her friends and family. She is a lover of cozy sweaters, ugly dogs, and the Oxford comma.