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The Ultimate Rest

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I BET this has happened to you. Something you read doesn’t make sense at first, and then BAM! revelation suddenly hits. Okay, maybe not revelation but something close to it. And I’m stinkin’ thrilled that I didn’t just brush over this one.

I’M READING Hebrews 4 and can’t figure out why certain verses appear out of place. Paul talks about how the Israelite’s unbelief kept them from entering the Promised Land—God’s rest. He urges readers not to follow the same path of unbelief. In the prior chapters, he established how Jesus was greater than Moses, who led the people out of slavery and darkness and toward the Promised Land.

WHAT a stubborn people, those Israelites! Then again, I’ve never experienced slavery and so I’ve never had the mindset of a slave.
Or have I?

IN THEIR unbelief, the Israelites strived to make their ‘religion’ work. They struggled out of a deep-rooted way of thinking that stemmed from a 400-year bout with slavery.

SO I ASK. Do I fall into this ‘striving’ mode today? We pray and read either out of duty or devotion. Do I read a passage, check it off the list, and then move on quickly? That’s duty. Or do I leave your quiet place of absolute refreshing and fulfillment with an eagerness for the next encounter? Devotion.

v.10 (amp) For he who has once entered God’s rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors peculiarly His own.  v.11(nkjv) Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.

SOUNDS as if this rest is more than a suggestion.

SO AFTER the stuff about unbelief, the Jesus/Moses comparison, and Rest, Paul tells the Hebrews:
vv.12-13 For the WORD of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

HUH? I’m not getting the connection. (you have to read it in context)

Then, AHA! . . . In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was…Jesus. (Not Moses, not the pope or Ghandi, or Brigham)
Jesus Christ is sharper than a two-edged sword.
HIS SPIRIT — God’s Word manifested — lives in me. He, like a two-edged sword, penetrates my mortal soul and my immoral spirit.
DO I welcome that penetration?

HE discerns my thoughts and motives down to the bone
I am naked before him, unable to hide anything 
I can BE nothing but myself when in his presence
nothing more, nothing less
I cannot ‘fake out’ God

THERAPY! If God can get that deep into me, then his version of rest is an invitation to restoration of right mind and emotion. If I yield to that penetration, I can deal with any mental/emotional unhealthiness and…be free of fear and free to really live.

WE STRIVE so hard to make our own way through life and build our own “success.” But why?

WHY not try it His way. Rest in the One who adorns the flowers and feeds the birds and knows all my needs. He cares for me more than he cares for the birds whose needs are always met.

WHY STRIVE, I ask again? His burden is light His yoke is easy, which means I have all I need. He’s got me covered. I am His ambassador. 

Seeking first the Kingdom frees me to walk without burdens
Walking without burdens frees me to impart the Kingdom:
To love my enemies,
Pray for my persecutors,
Serve the undeserving…

THE TIME of my soul’s thirsting is over. “Those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. That Water becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” 

In a thirsty, dry world,
drink from him and never thirst again.
His lush Word flows like a river,
quenching the soul’s dry ground
and causing seeds of truth to grow.
My roots grow down deep
into His ever-enduring love
where I have the power to understand
how wide, how long, how high,
and how deep His love is
…though it is too great to understand fully.

LET ME NOT stifle the Holy Spirit by saying “no” to the purifying Fire of His Word. Let the hammer of his Word break down walls and enemy strongholds. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances. He desires this

And I am passionately compelled to do what He desires

The way of the embattled spirit

 

For the WORD of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

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