Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
“So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’”
And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.” And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”
Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted:
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”
For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
– Hebrews 4:1-13
[Now we who have believed enter that rest] (Hebrews 4:3) “What is belief? It is a simple trust – trusting upon Christ as God’s appointed Savior. It is trusting the Father and believing in his infinite love to us. This is a simple truth and yet one that we need to remember, consider, and be assured of. We ought to pant after sanctification; we ought to be crying and sighing every day after conformity to Christ. But it is neither in our sanctification or our conformity that we find our rest. Our rest comes to us through our believing in Jesus Christ.”
– Charles H. Spurgeon
Here we come to another Labor Day weekend. I wrote last year about how my mother considered Labor Day to be a day of intense labor. It wasn’t that we woke before dawn and never stopped working until after dusk. It was the frenzied, maniacal pace.
My wife asked me a couple of days ago if my lack of caring regarding house work stemmed from a rebellion against my mother. My mother has been gone seven years, but I think my wife is correct. I rebel against a neat and trim house. Sorry, if I visit your immaculate abode, I will feel more comfortable as soon as I turn an end table askew. (To our mutual defense: We have been exhausted and infirmed ever since our sons and their families were here in March. We have done some fixing up, but we are just pooped.)
Of course, clutter becomes a problem when there is someone in the house that could become severely injured if they trip and fall. I have become a good picker-upper. I asked my wife if we should simply throw everything away and then buy new – but only what we need. No, we don’t have the money for that, so we are left with picking everything up, placing it in boxes, and then finding what we need before throwing away the rest.
Of course, if my wife was further along in her rehabilitation after surgery, we could take advantage of the Labor Day Sales. Labor Day Sales seem absurd to me. The nation declares a day away from our labors, but then we fill the day with so much junk (activities) that we never rest, while more and more people must work to entertain us.
Picture for a minute a totalitarian state that could insist on everyone resting all day. This is impossible. The police force would have to work to ensure everyone behaved, but let’s look at utopia for just a second.
- You might have a problem visiting Grandma, unless you filled up with gas the day before.
- You cannot go out to eat. The restaurants would be closed. Then you have to ask if cooking on the grill is ‘labor’ or should you eat a cold meal?
- There would be no shopping. All the stores will be closed.
- Don’t dare be sick. The hospitals, nursing homes, urgent care facilities are shut down – too bad for the residents.
- Would there be enough electrical power generated from automatic methods to supply electricity?
- Television and radio transmission would cease, unless set up to play recorded information through the day on automatic. Definitely, no news.
- Don’t go to the movies or a ballgame. They are all closed.
- And what of the continuous processes in industry that cost a fortune to shut down – some shutdowns taking days to accomplish?
I could go on, but you get the idea. I can remember the ‘blue laws’. When we returned from Germany in 1980, I was stationed in Watertown, MA for about six months. Massachusetts rolled up the sidewalks on Saturday night / Sunday morning when the bars closed. You could buy very few things on Sunday – some food items and medicines. Is there a single second of the year when you cannot buy anything anymore? And now, on the day set aside for rest from our labors, we have sales to encourage people to buy more, and for store owners to make more money, and overworked, underpaid employees to work while their neighbors have the day off.
But the bulleted items above were not farfetched for the Israelites during the days of Moses. On the day before the Sabbath, they collected a double portion of manna and prepared it that day. There would be no work the following day – not even preparing food. And that was once each week, not one day of the year.
Where have we gone wrong?
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:10)
So, when you celebrate your day off on Monday, remember those who do not have the day off.
And remember what Spurgeon said as the only source of true, lasting rest – believing in Jesus Christ.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.