ENTERING INTO GOD’S REST
(Tuesday, December 19)
“There remains therefore a rest (σαββατισμὸς, a Sabbath rest) for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. 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.” (Hebr 4:9-12)
We are to enter the kind of “Sabbath rest” into which God entered on the Seventh Day, which did not mean He became inactive. But God “rested” in the sense that He was now allowing others the freedom to act, namely, us, without controlling our choices. God gave us everything, and by “everything” I mean communion with Him, that we may have the wisdom and the drive to also enter into, and participate in, His *not inactive* rest. We are invited to “be diligent to enter that rest”; this is one of the main goals of our journey of salvation. It takes work, because our freedom entails difficult choices and decision-making, along with the potential for making the wrong choices. These poor choices bring us chaos and exile us from God’s “rest,” so we need to scurry back into communion with God and re-enter His “rest.”
Our entrances and re-entrances into God’s kind of “rest” can be a painful learning process, but we have the word of God to guide us back, when we have “obedience” to it; when we listen to it. “Obedience” (from the Latin “ob” meaning “to/toward” + “audire,” meaning “to listen, hear”) involves an active choice, of directing our attention or lending our ear not to every voice in our heads or in our midst, but to God’s voice. His voice and His will is sometimes revealed to us through our losses, failures, and rejections, when we let ourselves see with the eyes of faith, when we see God’s good presence in our lives through our ups and downs. God’s word or voice is “sharper than any two-edged sword” in the sense that He, like a gardener, “prunes” us at times, allowing us to lose certain things and people, that we may grow more beautiful and more joy-bringing for ourselves and others.
Let me let myself enter into God’s rest today, by also letting others have the freedom to act, without me controlling their choices. Thy will be done with all of us today, our Father, and let me not fight unnecessary battles, that I may grow more beautiful, in usefulness to You, myself and others.