Rest for your souls.
“Any you shall find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29 (c).
People need rest, which is why God stipulated a day of rest in the Bible’s first book called Genesis. It is called the day of Sabbath. You see, we cannot work every day and get stressed out. God knows our body requires rest, and He gave provision for it. He also included this in the ten commandments when He said, “remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You shall labor six days and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your town.” Exodus 20:8.
As the progressive revelation of God progressed through the pages of the Bible, Colossians 2:16-17 says, “do not let anyone judge by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are the shadow of the things that were to come; however, the reality is found in Christ. All the celebrations, sacrificial systems, and festivals were shadows, and all these were fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Now the background of today’s insight is Jesus, the fulfillment of all the old testament shadows, including the Sabbath, filled with compassion as he looked at the burden of the people and said to them, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Hebrews 4 says God’s promise of entering His rest still stands. The writer is afraid that some of you may fail to experience it. Why? It says, “for this good news- that God prepared this rest-has been announced to us just as it was announced to the Israelites before their entrance into the promised land (Deuteronomy 12:9). You see, God gave a promise of rest as they were at the edge of the promised land, but those who heard the good news failed to enter because they did not believe God’s promise. As a result of disbelief, they did not go into the promised land (Numbers 14). Then God said, they will never enter my rest”. Except for two people (Joshua and Caleb), the whole generation had fallen in the wilderness in death, without entering into the rest promised just because of their unbelief.
Joshua led the next generation to the promised land. But he was unable to give them the rest. This is why the Hebrew writer wrote, “if Joshua had succeeded in giving them the rest, God would not have spoken about another day of rest still to come.” God said through David, who came to the scene much later and recorded in Psalms 95 these words, “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts,” reminding them God was angry with that generation for forty years because of their unbelief said in his anger, “they shall never enter my rest.”
In a nutshell, as the fulfillment of the shadow of the promise of the Sabbath day, you can enter into the rest for your soul by believing in the Gospel, by coming to Jesus. This is why Jesus said, come to me, and I will give you rest. And you shall find rest for your soul in Christ Jesus.
Therefore as the Hebrew writer announced, let us enter that rest now available in Jesus. The writer of the book of Hebrews also wrote if one disobeys and disregard the gospel/good news, as the people of Israel did in the wilderness, he or she will fall (Hebrews 4:11 (c).
Hebrews 2:3 says, “how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” If the old Israelites did not escape because they neglected the offer, there is a chance you may also do not escape from the consequences of disbelief.
Got a moment for today’s prayer? “Father in heaven, I do not want to harden my heart to your gracious offer of salvation and the resultant rest here and though out the eternity. I need Jesus. I come to you now and please give me the salvation and rest for my soul because you died, buried, and rose again for all of my sins and mistakes. In christ’s name, I pray, Amen.”