“Let us therefore strive to enter that rest …” Hebrews iv.11
Israel’s exodus and sojourn through a desert to the Promised Land was probably the most powerful analogy God created in human history to teach us valuable lessons about salvation.
God initiated a grand plan of deliverance for Israel. It wasn’t Moses’ idea. Their salvation from Egyptian slavery did not depend on their good works but on God’s mercy. All who believed God’s word, obeyed His instructions regarding the Passover. The shed blood of Passover lambs secured their release. Thus, they began their unusual journey.to a Promised Land. However, most of them perished in the desert. After being ‘saved’ from Egypt, they did not make it to their destination because they did not continue in faith and obedience.
As Christians, we know that we were delivered from slavery to sin and the devil through Jesus’ death on our behalf. However, we must never forget that we, like Israel, are passing through life’s desert. Our salvation will be complete only when God takes us into our heavenly abode. Until then, we must undertake our pilgrimage with utmost care.
Israel did not enter God’s “rest” under Joshua’s leadership. The land of Canaan was just a shadow of God’s heavenly Kingdom.. This was why David warned Israel, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” (Ps vc.7) If Israel had entered the true Promised Land under Joshua’s leadership, why would David talk of another “rest” several centuries later? “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God” (Hebrews iv.9)
The author of Hebrews picked up that theme and warned us:
“Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.” (Hebrews iv.1)
“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. (iii.12)
But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.(iii.13) For we share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. (iii.14)
Setting out from the devil’s kingdom is important. That deliverance comes free of cost through faith in Christ. It is vital to continue in that faith throughout our Christian Pilgrimage, producing the fruit of obedience. Faith without works is dead. Let’s hold on to our original faith till the end lest we perish in this desert.