Enter into God’s Rest

10 The land you are entering to take over is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot as in a vegetable garden. 11 The land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. 12 It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.  
(Deuteronomy 11:10-12)
8 If Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.

(Hebrews 4:8-11)
When we read the Old Testament, it is surprising how much the Lord talks to the Israelites about resting on the Sabbath day. He even talks about the Sabbath when he says that he will lead them into the Promised Land – a place where they can live in cities that they have not built, drink water from wells that they have not dug and enjoy wine from vineyards that they have not planted. One of the main reasons that the Lord gives for Israel’s later exile from the Promised Land is that they had refused to observe the Sabbath day.

In the New Testament, we discover why. The writer to the Hebrews tells us that Joshua, who led the Israelites into the Promised Land, served as a prophetic picture of the true and better Joshua who was to come. False religion is all about our DOING things to try to please God. The Gospel invites us to repent of our good works for God and to believe in what God has already DONE for us in Jesus. It calls us to step into the promises of God through faith in the death and resurrection of his Son.  It’s about belief, not busyness. It’s about resting, not wrestling!

That’s why we have spent a whole week together looking at Day Seven of creation. The writer to the Hebrews warns us that the Sabbath principle lies at the heart of the Gospel. Every time you down tools to worship, every time you turn out the light to go to sleep, and every time you take a weekly day off to connect up with God and in with God’s family, you proclaim your faith in the finished work of Jesus. He did it all so that we don’t have to. Hallelujah.
1)   Using the language of Deuteronomy 11, how much does your life feel like you are ‘watering it with your own foot pump’ and how much does it feel like a ‘lush valley watered by God’?

2  Why do you think we find it so hard to stop working and, instead, to look up to the God who works for us?

3)   How can your work life, your home life and your church life become more and more a faith-filled partnership with Jesus, who has DONE everything for you, instead of feeling like an endless round of DOING?
Father God, I thank you that there is a Sabbath-rest for me. Thank you that you don’t so much call me to DO things for you as to believe that you have DONE it all for me in Jesus. Help me to partner with you each day through your Holy Spirit. Help me to throw away my foot pump and to enjoy my life as the ‘well-watered valley of God’. Amen.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.