Alright! So let’s really dig into this REST! I hope you had a chance to read Hebrews 4. There’s really so much to get into, but for it to really make a lasting impact in our lives, we first have to understand that the foundation or root of it all is His love. If you don’t understand what I mean, I pray and believe that you will by the time you finish reading and absorbing this.
Allow me to paint the picture for you: Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, the most beautiful place on earth we can imagine, and they were experiencing pure, unhindered, and uninhibited fellowship with God. God loved them and they loved Him. They were one, and God had provided everything they needed. They had absolutely no responsibility regarding their own provision, protection, or anything else. God had finished, prepared and accounted for everything they would ever need before He rested on the seventh day. Now enter Sin. They disobeyed the one law or commandment that was in place, to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and as a result, the fellowship for which they were created was broken. Now, all of a sudden, they had a need (clothing) and found themselves having to provide for themselves (Genesis 3:7). They had unwittingly taken themselves and the entire human race out of the kingdom of God and into a fatally flawed world system. No longer was mankind able to access the loving rest of the kingdom of God, where He had already completed and provided everything we needed. Instead, mankind had to rely on their own works and provisions because that is what the world system dictated.
Despite not being able to tolerate sin, God still loved mankind unconditionally and again wanted that pure and beautiful relationship with mankind. God had a plan…even before the beginning! And the plan began to take shape when He called Abram to leave his family and all he knew to follow Him to an unknown land (Genesis 12). Abram obeyed, and his faith moved God, causing Him to change his name to Abraham, meaning father of many. Despite him and his wife being far beyond child-bearing age, God’s plan to restore mankind’s relationship with Him would come through Abraham’s offspring (Genesis 17). Abraham’s descendants eventually became a nation, the Israelites, who had become slaves in Egypt. However, God continued to reveal His loving heart and plan to restore His relationship with mankind when He used Moses to lead them out of bondage in Egypt and through the Red Sea. The vast wilderness was now ahead of them, and they started to complain about what they were going to eat. God told them that He was going to provide for them, just like He provided for Adam and Eve in the garden. He even told them how, but the Israelites didn’t trust the way things operated in the kingdom of God. They instead tried to provide for themselves and even said they should have stayed enslaved in Egypt (Exodus 16).
The repeated distrust and blatant rejection by the Israelites hurt God, but He did not give up on mankind. His plan from the beginning was to take the penalty of Sin on Himself so that He could again have that relationship that He had in garden. The plan finally came to pass when He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, as a baby. You see, the plan was to have Him become one of us (human), live a sinless life (because He’s God, who can not sin), but die a sinner’s death, thereby paying the penalty for your sin, my sin and the sin of all mankind. The plan was accomplished when Christ was crucified, and restoration was complete when He rose victoriously from the dead. However, we can’t sidestep the gruesome nature of His death. He was kicked, hit, and spat on; whipped beyond recognition, until the skin and muscles from His entire torso was hanging off His body. The thorns that were put on His head weren’t just placed there. The thorns pierced His scalp down to the bone. And all of this before He was made to carry His cross through town and up a hill. They then nailed Him to the cross and let Him hang there, naked, until He died, even forcing a spear through His side to make sure He was dead.
He did all that for love. He desired that relationship, where He could talk with us and be with us and be everything for us; not because we did anything special, but just because He loves us. All of us can now choose to participate in this restored relationship by accepting the finished work of Jesus Christ and accepting Him as our Lord and Savior. When we do, He says in Hebrews 4 that we can have access to the rest that comes along with living in the kingdom of God, where He has already completed and prepared everything we need, spiritually and physically, and we can be led to every provision by the leading of the Holy Spirit who is now in us and with us, in fellowship with us. We no longer have to rely on our flesh, our own strength, as in the world system. But we can rest in His leading for that job, that spouse, that business, that relationship, that innovative idea, that ministry, that decision… whatever it is, if we allow our decisions and steps to be ordered by Him, we can rest in all that His love has afforded us in the kingdom of God.
Do you now see what I mean? It’s all about His love. Stop feeling guilty, ashamed, and unworthy. You couldn’t ever do enough to be worthy of His love and this rest anyway! No one can! Just allow His love to overwhelm your spirit. When that happens, you’ll be ready to really walk in the lifestyle of REST.