Encouragement From The Word

Rest

At St. Paul’s Church, Nobleton, I’m preaching a series on heaven right now.  In a few weeks, I’ll be talking about the concept of heaven as “rest”, but that theme is on my mind right now, so I thought I’d share a little bit about that as a ‘teaser’ for our people, and as encouragement for everyone else!

The Bible talks about heaven in a number of ways, and one of those is “rest”.  The writer to the Hebrews put it this way:

Moses was certainly faithful in God’s house as a servant. His work was an illustration of the truths God would reveal later.But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.

That is why the Holy Spirit says,

“Today when you hear his voice,
    don’t harden your hearts
as Israel did when they rebelled,
    when they tested me in the wilderness.
There your ancestors tested and tried my patience,
    even though they saw my miracles for forty years.
 So I was angry with them, and I said,
‘Their hearts always turn away from me.
    They refuse to do what I tell them.’
 So in my anger I took an oath:
    ‘They will never enter my place of rest.’”

 Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters.  Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.  For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.  Remember what it says: 

“Today when you hear his voice,
    don’t harden your hearts
    as Israel did when they rebelled.”

 And who was it who rebelled against God, even though they heard his voice? Wasn’t it the people Moses led out of Egypt?  And who made God angry for forty years? Wasn’t it the people who sinned, whose corpses lay in the wilderness?  And to whom was God speaking when he took an oath that they would never enter his rest? Wasn’t it the people who disobeyed him?  So we see that because of their unbelief they were not able to enter his rest.  (Hebrews 3.5-19, NLT)

I gave you that long passage to afford you some context.  The author cites Psalm 95 in his discussion on heaven, and uses that reference to “rest” to talk about eternity.

Summer is often a time for rest, when we step back from our daily labours to be rejuvenated, doing things we most enjoy with the people we most love.  I hope you are taking some time in these warm months to do just that.

Vacation time is like an extended Sabbath.  And so too, says the writer to the Hebrews, is heaven.  This has been reiterated in church music over the years.  Peter Abelard, a twelfth-century French theologian, wrote an anthem (translated into English much later by John Mason Neale) in which one verse states:

O what their joy and their glory must be, 
Those endless Sabbaths the blessèd ones see; 
Crown for the valiant, to weary ones rest: 
God shall be All, and in all ever blest. 

(You can listen to Healey Willan’s setting of this piece here.)

In one sense, then, vacation time is truly a taste of heaven!  Make sure you get some rest.  If you are a follower of Jesus, it’s part of your eternal future!

Biblical Messages, Uncategorized

Songs in the Key of Life: 8. Rest

One might think ‘rest’ would be a good topic for a holiday weekend, but this isn’t about

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See?  Compared with a Douglas Fir, I’m not that big after all.  (Cathedral Grove, Vancouver Island, May 2015)

Sabbath rest – more like the eternal Sabbath rest!  Psalm 95 harkens back to the time when the Israelites wandered in the wilderness during the Exodus.  Conveniently, the writer to the Hebrews gives us a helpful exposition of that part of Psalm 95.  Have a listen!