2022Q1 Let Us Labour Therefore

Quarterly exhortation, Q1 2022

Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. Hebrews 4:11

Paul said the Old Testament examples were written for our learning (1Cor 10:11). In this particular text it means we learn what not to do.  Failure can be a wonderful teacher!

Chapters 3 and 4 of Hebrews uses the same teacher. The example of unbelief is that God’s people didn’t trust Him.  After all God had done, they still feared men more than the creator of men.

Possibly another reason Israel rebelled is that they were just tired.  After all of the effort to march out of Egypt (months and hundreds of miles ago) they were ready to rest - now.  We came all this distance and now God wants us to march in and fight giants?  And fight with what, our trumpets?

With hindsight we think we wouldn’t have been among the rebels. Yes, we would have stood with Joshua and Caleb and marvel at their spectacular failure of faith.  But the writer says to us: let us fear lest “you should seem to come short of it” (4:1).  Their generation was not spared and died in the wilderness.  They made the long journey only to come up short. Failures.

The inspired writer says that for us to avoid falling into the same state of unbelief, we are to continue to labor (strive; give diligence) to enter the heavenly rest.  If Israel assumed God’s deliverance out of Egypt would require nothing further on their part than to walk right in and begin enjoying the benefits, they were sadly mistaken. 

So, if we don’t feel we are laboring and striving, particularly, to enter heaven, is this is evidence of our unbelief? 

This leaves us some things to think on as individuals and as a congregation:

  • In our peaceful and prosperous generation, what exactly is there to labor and strive for?
  • Are we doing these things?
  • Is there more we should be doing?  Can we make a list and add to it?

Let’s reflect on our efforts this quarter and beyond. I don’t think any of us would say we couldn’t strive more.  God has brought us thus far but we have work yet to do.  There remains a rest for the living faithful – but not yet. 

Let us labor therefore.