Posts Tagged Hebrews 4: 11

Relieved

Psalm 81: 6 & 10

I relieved his shoulder of the burden, his hands were freed from the basket. I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt; open your mouth wide and I will fill it.

I am always amused by people who say that the Old Testament does not speak to us today. Today’s verse is modern day theology. It is Jesus’ message about the Holy Spirit. This is the place, spiritually speaking, where we are all supposed to live.

God has relieved us from the labor of work. Am I saying that we no longer set our hands to the plow? No. What God is revealing is that He is the labor behind the work. He supplies the wisdom and the power. We are to abide in Him and rest in Him while He provides for us. Hebrews 4: 11 says, “Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.” The King James version says that our labor is in entering into this rest. In other words, our job is to enter into the rest of God. We are to be diligent in our pursuit of a Sabbath relationship with the Father and Sabbath, by the way, is every day. Our labor, our task is to abide in Jesus every moment of every day. That is sometimes a challenge and that is why it requires diligence. It is quite easy for us to become stimulated by some “emergency” or even some “to do” and begin to operate in our own strength and wisdom. The calling upon our lives is to learn to let go of our ways and our strength and embrace Jesus’ ways and the strength of God. Our challenge is to live in His abiding grace where He does all the heavy lifting. This is the challenge of the New Covenant. Endeavor, labor even, to live in Jesus’ peace while the Holy Spirit provides the power.

Jesus said, “The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things” (John 14: 26). He also promised us that the Holy Spirit will guide us in all truth (John 16: 13). So, the strength, power and wisdom are in the Divine Trinity. God has taken the kneading bowl from our hands and put it into the hands of the Holy Spirit. Our part is to abide in Him and allow Him to abide in us. We take the time to quiet ourselves down and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and follow him. It is harder than it sounds because we learned to do everything in our power: by our education, personality, charm, hard-work and all of the other worldly methods. God is trying to redeem us from all of that though. Just like a relief pitcher in the 9th inning, God has sent the Holy Spirit to win all of your games for you. Let’s be diligent to enter God’s rest and the peace Jesus left for us while the Holy Spirit does his job.

Wait Lifting

Hebrews 4: 11

Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.

No, I didn’t misspell the word “wait” in the title. There is a concept imbedded in those two words. It is the precept that in our quiet contemplation with the Lord there is power to lift great weight and succeed in every calling of the Lord.

I was speaking with some friends last week when this idea, this principle came to the foreground of my thoughts and I have been unable to shake it. The awareness that we are meant to glean from this passage is that our labor, our effort is in entering into the rest of the Father whereby we cease from our striving. In Him, we are able to do all things (Philippians 4: 13). Apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15: 5). Therefore, the purpose of our effort is to become integrated with Him and thus be “in Him.” The King James Bible says it this way, “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

We have become such externalists that our faith and the expression of our faith has become largely external rather than internal. Contrast this ideology with some of the great historical icons of our faith. People like Thomas á Kempis, Martin Luther or Julian of Norwich. These and others, noticeably the Apostles John and Paul, believed and argued that the labor of our faith was to come to know God in the quietness of our spirits. Our faith is not in the things we do but in our connection internally with the Father, Son and Spirit. This is our works, extending our faith, believing with our hearts. Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (John 6: 29).

We should not “do” works at the cost of sacrificing the quiet contemplation of our souls. Instead, external work should be at the direction of our Father and as an extension of the quiet, meditative connection with the Father. As in all things, balance is key. I know people who are so spiritual that they are no earthly good. What do I mean? They spend all of their time feeding themselves but it never has any expression beyond their own gorging. The true unity with God ought to show. It ought to spill over on to others but not by mere works but rather from the overflowing grace of the Lord.

When we rest in the presence of the Lord we gain substantively. This is not all subjective. It has real world consequences that can be objectively observed. We are empowered in the presence of the Lord and through communion with His Spirit we are guided; directed. He imbues us with power and then directs that power to His good intentions. “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary” (Isaiah 40: 31). He fills us up to overflowing, speaks to us in our spirits and directs our paths. He gives us the power to do all things. All of this comes from spending time and investing our effort in “knowing Him” and the power which flows from just such a knowing (Philippians 3: 10). 

When Moses died and Joshua was appointed by God to take over the leadership of the nation of Israel God’s advice to Joshua was, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success (Joshua 1: 8). I think that same advice will serve us well today. We should wait upon the Lord in the meditation of the Word, prayer and in the contemplation of the Lord. In that waiting, that quiet communion spent with the Lord, is great power; great strength. As we rest in Him, as we wait in His presence and in prayer He performs the works; His power goes into action rather than our limited power. He assigns angels and directs ministering spirits. His is the power which does all of the heavy lifting while we meditate in Him and the authority of His grace. In Him, in our rest, we become powerful ministers of the gospel of grace. In Him we become mighty “wait lifters”.

Please share your thoughts with me. How did this Word of the Day impact you? We always appreciate your comments. Thank you.