“That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, 'Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.' So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.' “(Hebrews 3:10-11).
Do you long for rest? Are you tired? weary? Does life seem more than you can bear most days? As believers, we have a promise of entering into the Sabbath rest of God but many times we miss this plan for our lives because we do not know it is available. We continue on with our lives and certain things hinder us from entering into the rest God has promised His children. We can look at the example from Israel’s past to understand how to enter into this rest.
As the Israelites wandered through the desert they became increasingly hard of heart. They saw God’s provision for many generations and yet in their defiance they refused to acknowledge Him choosing rather to grumble and complain about Him. The problem was not in their circumstances. It was not because they were wandering through the desert for all those years lacking in provision. The problem was in their hearts. The true attitude and intentions of their hearts were the cause of all their problems. Proverbs says, “For as he [man] thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7a KJV). Their hearts were sick. They could not recognize the wonderful works of God because this blinded them to it. He provided them with food, water and protection. Miraculously their clothing and shoes never wore out the entire time they were in the wilderness (Deuteronomy 29:5). And yet the attitude of their hearts tainted their perception of God, continually.
The reason is because they never progressed into a true revelation of who God was. They never became acquainted with His ways. They did not strive to understand His character and they misinterpreted His actions concerning them. The Amplified Bible puts it this way, “And so I was provoked (displeased and sorely grieved) with that generation, and said, They always err and are led astray in their hearts, and they have not perceived or recognized My ways and become progressively better and more experimentally and intimately acquainted with them. Accordingly, I swore in My wrath and indignation, They shall not enter into My rest.” (Hebrews 3:10-11 Amp). They never entered, not because God kept them out, they kept themselves out because of their unbelief (Hebrews 3:19). They believed the wrong things about God. They saw His work and instead of progressively coming into further understanding of His nature and becoming more intimately acquainted with Him, they held fast to their unbelieving viewpoints. These ideas drove them around the wilderness for forty years.
Tomorrow we look at Part 2: Lessons from Israelites