An Antidote for Failing to Enter God’s Rest
I was reading Psalm 95 in my devotions last week.
A portion of it is quoted in Hebrews 4 regarding failing to enter the rest God offers people.
I did not remember the context of this Psalm.
I included the Psalm in its entirety below.
What stood out to me was what comes before what is quote in Hebrews 4.
It is a recipe for avoiding the failure that is talked about.
God couldn’t keep the attention of Israel (verses 7b-11).
When God loses a person’s attention, he declares, “They shall never enter my rest.” (verse 11)
Because of Israel’s hardened heart, they were perpetually testing God. (verse 8)
Because of Israel’s wandering heart, they never learned God’s ways. (verse 10)
As a result, God cannot bring his people to his desired end—rest. (verse 11)
Rest is ceasing from work.
It is the end of striving, performing, and lugging the burden of proving one’s worth and earning acceptance.
This is a point few know.
Tim Keller says God’s rest “is a freedom unknown to modern people—one that is on the far side of trusting God rather than ourselves.”
So what is the antidote to this failure?
The first half of the Psalm mentions two things: adoration and attitude. (verses 1-7a)
The invitation is to come to the Creator God and adore him with joy (verse 1), thanksgiving (verse 2), and awe (verses 3 and 4)!
And there’s a second invitation to come to the Lord our Maker with an attitude of humility (verse 6). This isn’t just an inner attitude, but is to be displayed physically—literally bowing down.
When was the last time you sprawled out prostrate (literally) before Jesus?
Doing these two things is an antidote to a hardened, straying heart.
Try them and see whether you enter a deep, soulful rest.
Jesus wants you to enter his rest. His invitation is “Come (all who are burdened and weary) and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
Today, if only you would hear his voice,
“Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,
where your ancestors tested me;
they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
For forty years I was angry with that generation;
I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
and they have not known my ways.’
So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’”