Saturday, June 1, 2013

LITL: Paradise Today and Tomorrow

"Therefore, while the promise to enter His rest remains, let us fear that none of you should miss it." Hebrews 4:1

 The other day, I turned my bible app on and began listening to (what I thought was) a random passage. But God had something to teach me. As He always does.  :P

A little history lesson. Just for a second. When Moses led the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt, under the guidance of God, we all know it was a bumpy ride. There were attacks, long waits, and the constant murmuring. Just the way I hear that word in my head makes it sound annoying. :P I don't know how Moses did it. As punishment for their unbelief and complaining, God declared that that generation would not see the promise land. They would know what it was to rest in the rewards of their long journey. 

This is the background to this passage in Hebrews. In contrast to the punishment of those Israelites, we can know what it is to rest in God. We can have peace if we have belief. "A Sabbath rest remains for God’s people." (hebrews 4:9) We can rest in God like he rested after he created the earth. How many times do I let myself get so wound up and stressed out, when it is so easy just to stop. rest. "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10) But instead i run around like a chicken with my head cut off and become all too aware that I am human

This passage in Hebrews 4 reminded of two things. 

First, I praise God for the rest he gives me so absolutely. I don't mean naptime here on earth, but the peace and hope I have in my eternal rest. One day I will know what it is not to suffer. One day I will glory in his presence; I will truly know his glory. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

I think of the theif on the cross and the word Jesus said to fill him with hope: "Today you will be with Me in paradise." (Luke 23:43) When that criminal gave up his last breath, he was greeted by God's glorious face. Wow. 

Not only can I have peace and rest from God today, despite the chaos that swirls around me, I can know that I will have eternal rest in paradise "when I get where I'm going," as Brad Paisley would say. :P

Second, I am convicted. Don't you love when the Holy Spirit does that? :P Hebrew 4:10 says "For the person who has entered His rest has rested from his own works, just as God did from His." In the same way that Jesus says a worker is worthy of his wages (Matthew 10), a worker is worthy of his nap time. :P Ahem. Remember, I said worker. 

I need to constantly remind myself to be diligent to do the work that God has laid before me. Only then can I truly rest in him. If I come to him for rest, but I haven't been diligent in what he has assigned me, then all I can expect from him is a raise eyebrow and a shooing hand to get back out there. 

Yes I come to God to be refilled of the Spirit, but in order to do that I must first pour out that Spirit in reaching out to the world. 

"Let us then make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall into the same pattern of disobedience. For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart. No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account." (Hebrews 4:11-13)


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