How to Find Rest (2)
The reason why Israel did not find rest, according to Hebrews, is because they angered God by their unbelief. “As I swore in my wrath, They shall not enter my rest.” (3:11).
In this passage from Hebrews chapter 3, in which Psalms 95 is extensively quoted, Israel’s behavior and God's reaction is repeatedly shown. The people hardened their hearts, provoked God, tried Him, tempted Him and disobeyed Him. Meanwhile, God became displeased and angry with them.
For forty years they saw God’s works, but they did not know His ways. This is very significant. To see the works of God is to contemplate miracles and to get used to the wonders of God; however, such things fail to change the heart. On the contrary, such things harden the heart even more.
More than to have seen the works of God, they should have known the ways of God: God's purposes. They needed to understand the reason and purpose of why God led them through the wilderness and why God allowed them to be hungry and thirsty. However, they could only manage to say, "Is God with us?” As a consequence, the people of Israel were scattered in the wilderness because of their unbelief and hardened hearts.
The verse "If you hear his voice, harden not your hearts" appears three times in Hebrews: 3: 7-8; 3:15; 4: 7. This appeal is reiterated because Israel sinned exactly in that manner. They heard God many times but did not believe his words. Instead, they hardened their hearts.
More than wanting to see miracles, we need to hear the voice of God and believe. “And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief” (3: 18-19). The word of God to them was that God would guide them, defend them, and introduce them into the Promised Land as he had told them. But they did not believe. They tempted God, they ignored his faithful care, and they were dominated by fear of the dark report given the ten unbelieving spies.
What is the word of God for us that we must believe and receive? Is the word concerning Jesus Christ and His Church. This can be found in Hebrews 3: 6 and 3:14; one speaks of Christ and the other of his church. We are made partakers of Christ and are God's house.
If we centralize our lives in Christ and if we allow ourselves to be built as the church according to God’s model, then we will find the rest that Israel did not obtain. Our hearts will then find relief from our loneliness, famine, and frights. If we come to the place where he dwells, the place that the Holy Spirit builds as His house, then we shall rest from our works as God rests from his works. Just as God rests, we shall also rest.