Hebrews 3:18

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? Hebrews 3:18

The rapid-fire questions concerning Israel and their disobedience continue in this verse. The author now asks of them, “And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest?” Israel was instructed that they were to go up to Canaan and subdue it, taking it as their possession. Rather than accept this course of action, they believed the bad report of the spies who were sent to determine the status of the land. In their refusal to trust the Lord by accepting that He would go before them and ensure their success, they turned their hearts back to Egypt (Numbers 14:4). Because of this, the Lord vowed –

“Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in.” Exodus 14:30

The idea of entering God’s rest was to be that of going into Canaan and subduing it. As God’s people, they would dwell in His presence and be free from external worries. It would be typical of heaven, a place of rest in which a state of rest exists. However, the Lord’s words went beyond allowing them to enter the land. Instead, those who were twenty and above would all die before even one of them, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, could put one foot into the land. And this was because, as the author says, they “did not obey.”

The Lord had set them on the path to Canaan, and they refused that path. Their disobedience was a complete lack of faith in the Lord’s promises. What is apparent, from the words of the psalmist, is that not only did the Lord promise that they would not enter His rest, but that rest which was anticipated would be put on hold. The next generation of Israelites entered Canaan, but David shows that the rest which was hoped for was still not realized at his time. The words, “Today, if you will hear His voice,” shows that God’s rest was still anticipated, even at David’s time. This will be explained in Chapter 4.

Life application: Whose voice is it that gives rest? It is obvious that it is the Lord, meaning Yehovah. That is based on the promise of rest being granted to the people of God, even in the Law of Moses. However, David, speaking of the same Lord, will show that His rest had not been realized for Israel. The author of Hebrews says that the rest which was promised is found in Jesus. As this is so, then it must be that Jesus is the incarnation of the Lord, Yehovah. It is hearing and believing His voice that allows entrance into God’s promised rest. Trust in Jesus, call on Him, and enter into the rest of God which has been anticipated since the beginning.

Heavenly Father, it is so very wonderful to know that there is a place of rest set aside for Your people. We look forward to the day when that will be realized in us. You have said that by faith in Jesus, we have entered Your rest. It is as assured to us as the coming of the new day. And so we shall have no fear now as we await the consummation of the promise we now possess! Thank You for Jesus who makes all things new. Amen.

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