Sabbath, February 23, 2008
“The Word makes the proud humble, the perverse meek and contrite, the disobedient obedient. The sinful habits natural to man are interwoven with the daily practice. But the Word cuts away the fleshly lusts. It is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the mind. It divides the joints and marrow, cutting away the lusts of the flesh, making men willing to suffer for their Lord (MS 42, 1901).” – Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, p. 928.
1. To whom was the promise given when the ancient Israel was not eligible to enter into rest because of their disbelief?
Hebrews 4:5-7 And in this place again, if they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
“The son who for a time refused obedience to his father’s command was not condemned by Christ; and neither was he commended. The class who act the part of the first son in refusing obedience deserve no credit for holding this position. Their frankness is not to be regarded as a virtue. Sanctified by truth and holiness, it would make men bold witnesses for Christ; but used as it is by the sinner, it is insulting and defiant, and approaches to blasphemy. The fact that a man is not a hypocrite does not make him any the less really a sinner. When the appeals of the Holy Spirit come to the heart, our only safety lies in responding to them without delay. When the call comes, ‘Go work today in My vineyard,’ do not refuse the invitation. ‘Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.’ Heb. 4:7. It is unsafe to delay obedience. You may never hear the invitation again.” – Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 280, 281.
2. If ancient Israel found their rest in Canaan, why was another call to enter into God’s rest given in the prophecy in Psalms?
Hebrews 4:8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
Psalm 95:7, 8 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness.
3. What hope was there for the people of God in the old times?
Hebrews 4:9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
4. What must every human being accomplish in his life before he can enter into God’s rest?
Hebrews 4:10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
“The rest here spoken of is the rest of grace, obtained by following the prescription, Labor diligently. Those who learn of Jesus His meekness and lowliness find rest in the experience of practicing His lessons. It is not in indolence, in selfish ease and pleasure-seeking, that rest is obtained. Those who are unwilling to give the Lord faithful, earnest, loving service will not find spiritual rest in this life or in the life to come. Only from earnest labor comes peace and joy in the Holy Spirit–happiness on earth and glory hereafter.
“Let us therefore labor. Speak often words that will be a strength and an inspiration to those who hear. We are altogether too indifferent in regard to one another. We forget that our fellow laborers are often in need of words of hope and cheer. When one is in trouble, call upon him and speak comforting words to him. This is true friendship (MS 42, 1901).” – Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, p. 928.
5. How well must all Christians be prepared to enter God’s rest?
Hebrews 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
“The Bible does not acknowledge a believer who is idle, however high his profession may be. There will be employment in heaven. The redeemed state is not one of idle repose. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God, but it is a rest found in loving service.” – Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 3, p. 1164.
6. In what can every Christian find a transforming power?
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
7. How many beings are under God’s constant watch?
Hebrews 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
“It is for the eternal interest of every one to search his own heart, and to improve every God-given faculty. Let all remember that there is not a motive in the heart of any man that the Lord does not clearly see. The motives of each one are weighed as carefully as if the destiny of the human agent depended upon this one result. We need a connection with divine power that we may have an increase of clear light and an understanding of how to reason from cause to effect. We need to have the powers of the understanding cultivated, by our being partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Let each one consider carefully the solemn truth, God in heaven is true, and there is not a design, however intricate, nor a motive, however carefully hidden, that He does not clearly understand. He reads the secret devisings of every heart. Men may plan out crooked actions for the future, thinking that God does not understand; but in that great day when the books are opened, and every man is judged by the things written in the books, those actions will appear as they are. . . .
“The Lord sees and understands all dishonesty in planning, all unlawful appropriation in any degree of property or means, all injustice in man’s dealing with his fellow men.” – Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 3, p. 1160.