Witness Him Now
TODAY when you hear his voice, don't harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled and tested Me in the wilderness. (Hebrew 3:7-9) This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "Only in returning to Me and RESTING in Me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it. (Isaiah 30:15)
Today when I read the Bible, I was reading in Jeremiah 17 starting in verse 19. It talked about observing the Sabbath, God's holy day. This is what the LORD says: "Listen to My warning! Stop carrying on your trade at Jerusalem's gates on the Sabbath day. Do not do your work on the Sabbath, but make it a holy day...If you obey Me, says the LORD, and if you keep it holy, then kings and their officials will go in and out of these gates forever. There will always be a descendant of David sitting on the throne here in Jerusalem. Kings and their officials will go in and out of these gates forever. There will always be a descendant of David sitting on the throne here in Jerusalem....But if you do not listen to Me and refuse to keep the Sabbath holy, and if on the Sabbath day you bring loads of merchandise through the gates of Jerusalem just as on other days, then I will set fire to these gates. The fire will spread to the palaces, and no one will be able to put out the roaring flames." (Jeremiah 17:19-27)
There are severe consequences for keeping the Sabbath and for not keeping the Sabbath, so I started thinking about the Sabbath. Is it Saturday? Is it Sunday? Does it matter? Can we just choose a day and rest? How do we do it? What does this mean? I think it is more than just in the natural. I think that what the LORD is talking about here is spiritual.
First of all, I have to say that just keeping the law will not get us to heaven. It is not possible. Only Jesus will get us to heaven. So to think "Thou shalt not!" does not do the trick. Then Jesus said that man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was made for man. God knows that man needs to rest, so He commanded us to rest one day a week. For some of us, that feels impossible. But if we will let God work this work in us, it is amazing. Many, many years ago, I made a choice not to do anything on Sunday. (I know that is not the Sabbath, but it worked for me.) I rest. Sleep. Spend time with family. Relax. It has saved us because we work hard. Whew!
But what I just said is still in the natural, and even though I think this is so important, I do not believe that this is the most important. Hebrews also talks about this Sabbath rest "Today when you hear His voice, don't harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled , when they tested Me in the wilderness. There your ancestors tested and tried My patience, even though they saw My miracles for forty years. So I was angry with them, and I said, 'Their hearts always turn away from Me. They refuse to do what I tell then.' So in My anger I took an oath: 'They will never enter My place of rest.'" (Hebrews 3:7-8). Can you hear His voice? Is He speaking to you? Can you hear what He is saying? He is speaking LOUDLY to me. So I have a choice when I hear His voice. I can either harden my heart, or I can obey what He says. There is severe consequences to not listening to what He is saying.
"Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. YOU MUST WARN EACH OTHER EVERY DAY, while it is still "today," so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. " (Hebrews 3:12-14)
Can you see how careful we have to be in our walk with Jesus? It is so easy for our hearts to become hard - evil and unbelieving, turning away from God. We have to stay firm until the end. And when we are believing, trusting, and obeying God, our souls find rest. For some of us, there is no rest. We have been going the wrong way. Our heart is hard. But I have good news!
"God's promise of entering His rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. (Are you trembling? I am!) For this good news - that God has prepared this rest - has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn't share the faith of those who LISTENED TO GOD. For only we who believe can enter His rest. As for the others, God said, "In My anger I took an oath: 'They will never enter My place of rest,' even though this rest has been ready since he made the world. We know it is ready because of the place in the Scriptures where it mentions the seventh day: "On the seventh day God rested from all His work." (Hebrews 4:1-4)
So guys, this is the Sabbath God is talking about. It is a place of rest. We cease from our own labors, and we enter into His rest. We believe what He says and trust Him. We do what He says for us to do and our souls find rest. This "place" has been ready for us since the foundation of the world. It is only when we believe Him and obey Him that we can enter into this glorious place that was prepared for us from the beginning of all time. So I want to ask you a question. Is your soul at rest and peace? If it is not, there is "good news."
So God's rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. So God set another time for entering His rest, and that time is TODAY. God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted: "Today when you hear His voice, don't harden your hearts." ...So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God's rest have rested fro their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest. BUT IF WE DISOBEY GOD, as the people of Israel did, we will fall." (Hebrews 4:8-11)
So guys, today! Today is the day. Do not harden your hearts, or the LORD will set fire to your gates, and the fire will spread to the palaces, and no one will be able to put out the roaring flames. (Jeremiah 17:27). God is not playing! Rejoice that He is giving you another chance. Another day! Another day to find rest in Him. TODAY! If you hear His voice do not harden your hearts! I am asking this in Jesus' name. AMEN
The scripture says, "May you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers."