Sabbath, August 2, 2008
“For we which have believed do enter into rest…. There remaineth therefore a rest [Greek, ‘sabbatical rest’] to the people of God. For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest….” Hebrews 4:3, 9-11.
The blessing of God’s rest
1. What did the Lord sanctify in the beginning so man would be able to participate or enter into His blessed rest?
“And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” Genesis 2:2, 3.
“God has given us His commandments, not only to be believed in, but to be obeyed. The great Jehovah, when He had laid the foundations of the earth, had dressed the whole world in the garb of beauty, and had filled it with things useful to man–when He had created all the wonders of the land and the sea–instituted the Sabbath day and made it holy. God blessed and sanctified the seventh day, because He rested upon it from all His wondrous work of creation. The Sabbath was made for man, and God would have him put by his labor on that day, as He Himself rested after His six days’ work of creation.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 247.
2. What promises did the Lord make to Israel concerning this heavenly gift?
“And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest” Exodus 33:14.
“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls….” Jeremiah 6:16.
“When we realize that we are workers together with God, His promises will not be spoken with indifference. They will burn in our hearts, and kindle upon our lips. To Moses, when called to minister to an ignorant, undisciplined, and rebellious people, God gave the promise, ‘My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.’ And He said, ‘Certainly I will be with thee.’ Exodus 33:14; 3:12. This promise is to all who labor in Christ’s stead for His afflicted and suffering ones.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 641.
“When the Lord laid upon Moses the work of leading the children of Israel from Egypt, He gave him the assurance: ‘Certainly I will be with thee.’ ‘My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.’ Exodus 3:12; 33:14. The same assurance is given to those who go forth to work for the Lord in the Southern field.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, p. 221.
“Jeremiah called their attention repeatedly to the counsels given in Deuteronomy. More than any other of the prophets, he emphasized the teachings of the Mosaic law and showed how these might bring the highest spiritual blessing to the nation and to every individual heart. ‘Ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein,’ he pleaded, ‘and ye shall find rest for your souls.’ Jeremiah 6:16.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 411.
Peace and rest in the promised land
3. What was also included in that promise of peace and rest?
“And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.” Leviticus 26:6.
“But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the Lord your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety.” Deuteronomy 12:10.
4. Did that promise have a perfect and universal fulfillment as was God’s wish?
“Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.” Psalm 95:10, 11.
“And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?“ Hebrews 3:18.
“Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.” 1 Kings 8:56.
“Israel fell short of the high ideal which had been set before her. Another than Joshua must guide His people to the true rest of faith. No longer is Gerizim known as the mount of the Beatitudes, but that unnamed mountain beside the Lake of Gennesaret, where Jesus spoke the words of blessing to His disciples and the multitude.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 1.
“God will never, never allow any man to pass through the pearly gates of the City of God who does not bear the signet of the faithful, His government mark. Every soul who is saved will cherish pure principles, which proceed from the very essence of truth. He must fasten himself by golden links to the everlasting power and love of the God of truth. He must be loyal to the principles of God’s word, loyal to the everlasting covenant which is a sign between man and his Maker.” –Medical Ministry, p. 123.
Promise also in physical and spiritual trouble
5. What serious problems may sometimes trouble us and make it difficult for us to attain peace and rest?
“I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.” Job 3:26.
“My bowels boiled, and rested not: the days of affliction prevented me.” Job 30:27.
“And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve.” Isaiah 14:3.
6. What great hindrance to our peace ruins soul and body?
“When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. Psalm 32:3.
“Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.” Psalm 51:8.
“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” Proverbs 28:13.
“Those who have not humbled their souls before God in acknowledging their guilt, have not yet fulfilled the first condition of acceptance. If we have not experienced that repentance which is not to be repented of, and have not with true humiliation of soul and brokenness of spirit confessed our sins, abhorring our iniquity, we have never truly sought for the forgiveness of sin; and if we have never sought, we have never found the peace of God. The only reason why we do not have remission of sins that are past is that we are not willing to humble our hearts and comply with the conditions of the word of truth. Explicit instruction is given concerning this matter. Confession of sin, whether public or private, should be heartfelt and freely expressed.” –Steps to Christ, pp. 37, 38.
“Many a sin is left unconfessed to confront the sinner in the day of final account; better far to confront your sins now, to confess them and put them away, while the atoning Sacrifice pleads in your behalf. Do not fail to learn the will of God on this subject. The health of your soul and the salvation of others depends upon the course you pursue in this matter. ‘Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon Him: for He careth for you’ (1 Peter 5:6, 7). The humble and broken heart can appreciate something of the love of God and the cross of Calvary. Ample will be the blessing experienced by him who meets the condition by which he may become a partaker of the favor of God.” –Selected Messages, Book 1, p. 327.
The blessed source of rest and peace
7. Knowing our problems and weaknesses, what loving invitation does our Redeemer extend to us?
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.
“There are many professing Christians who are anxious and depressed, many who are so full of busy activity that they cannot find time to rest quietly in the promises of God, who act as if they could not afford to have peace and quietness. To all such Christ’s invitation is: ‘Come unto Me,… and I will give you rest.’ Matthew 11:28.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, p. 69.
“As through Jesus we enter into rest, heaven begins here. We respond to His invitation, Come, learn of Me, and in thus coming we begin the life eternal. Heaven is a ceaseless approaching to God through Christ. The longer we are in the heaven of bliss, the more and still more of glory will be opened to us; and the more we know of God, the more intense will be our happiness.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 331.
8. How may we be found in the ideal relationship of peace with God?
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” Romans 5:1.
“For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.” Ephesians 2:14.
For further study, read Hebrews 4:9; Isaiah 32:17.
“‘There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.’ Hebrew 4:9. 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.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 928.
“As the Sabbath was the sign that distinguished Israel when they came out of Egypt to enter the earthly Canaan, so it is the sign that now distinguishes God’s people as they come out from the world to enter the heavenly rest. The Sabbath is a sign of the relationship existing between God and His people, a sign that they honor His law. It distinguishes between His loyal subjects and transgressors.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, pp. 349, 350.
“Rest yourself wholly in the hands of Jesus. Contemplate His great love, and while you meditate upon His self-denial, His infinite sacrifice made in our behalf in order that we should believe in Him, your heart will be filled with holy joy, calm peace, and indescribable love.” –Sons and Daughters of God, p. 311.
An object lesson
When can we radiate peace and joy?
I was once in a jewelry store and found myself standing near two men who spoke enthusiastically about precious stones. I was more interested in what they were saying than in my own purchase. With my eyes I followed the finger of the older gentleman who pointed out to the other one the incredibly high price of a stone. “I don’t see anything special about it.”
His listener was of the same opinion. “It’s worthless,” I heard him say.
But then the first man took the stone and held it in his closed hand for an instant. When he opened his hand, the stone shone with the colors of the rainbow. Astonished, I moved a little closer. “How is that possible?” I asked.
“This is an opal,” he explained enthusiastically. “It is one of those so-called sympathetic stones. It needs the touch of a warm hand to show its brilliance.”
Strengthened by the power of God, even the weakest Christians develop the strength of faith which is praise to the Lord and of inestimable value to the church of Christ. May the Lord grant that each one of us may be such a stone!