“Nyquil Really Can’t Give You Rest”
Hebrews 3:11 – “As I swore in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.”
A recent survey of people who were close to death asked the question, “what regrets do you have in your life?” The answers very widely varied but the top 5 answers were:
*I wish I would have stayed in touch with my friends
*I wish I would have lived more courageously
*I wish I would have let myself be happy
*I wish I would have been more true to my own feelings
*I wish I would not have worked so much
In other words I wish I would have valued people more (stayed in touch with friends, been more true to feelings, not worked so much), I wish I would have made a difference (lived more courageously and let myself be happy) and I wish I would have rested more. Rest is a missing commodity in our world today isn’t it We no sooner get done with one vacation than we begin dreaming about the next one. Of course sadly enough even on many of those vacations we don’t take time to rest. We desperately need rest. We work long and hard and while we do we dream of finding time to rest. To quote the 80s band, Loverboy, “Everybody’s working for the weekend.” In other words we work so much we are just living for a chance to rest and enjoy life.
But is that why we miss out on rest? Is the only reason we miss out on rest the fact that we work so much? We know the answer don’t we, the answer is no. Sure we do work to much sometimes, but that is not the only reason that rest is missing from our lives. Things like worry, anxiety, fear, and feeling as if we have to be busy (pride) also cause us not to rest. To use a Biblical word sometimes we miss out on rest because of sin.
We don’t like that word do we? In fact we are offended by it but the reality is that we all are sinners, we all sin, and sin is one of the reasons that we miss out on rest. Worry, anxiety, fear, pride, an unquenchable materialism all of these things cause us to miss out on rest and all of these things are sin. In fact I would submit to you today that the number one rest stealer that we have in our lives is sin. Hebrews 3 tells us that doesn’t it? The writer pleads with the people basically to not let sin and disobedience and unbelief have any place in their lives. Why? Because those things cause us to miss out on rest. God says, “I swore in my wrath they will not enter into my rest.” What is God angry at? That verse is a quote from Psalm 95 in which the psalmist recaps for us some of the history of Israel and he points to the exodus event and how after God delivered His people they still found themselves wandering in the desert for 40 years. God had promised them the promised land, but they weren’t in the promised land they were wandering through the desert. Why? Unbelief, lack of trust, disobedience, SIN. Their sin kept them from the promised land, which means that their sin kept them from the rest of God. They wandered in the wilderness having no real rest, when a land flowing with milk and honey was waiting on them. Sin and unbelief had extremely destructive consequences in their lives.
It does in ours as well doesn’t it. They didn’t get to experience the rest of God because God was wrathful against their sin, and in the same way we miss out today because of our sin don’t we? We miss out on the rest of God because of sin as well. Jesus says, “come unto me all you who are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Look around there are a lot of weak and heavy laden people today aren’t they? And all the while, Jesus is saying “come to me, come to me, come to me,” and many times we don’t. Why not? Sin. The sin of pride, or worry, or materialism, or unforgiveness, or self-sufficiency. Sin diverts us from God which keeps us missing out on what we so desperately need, which is rest.
If your don’t believe that think about David. He said after his sin with Bathsheeba and the murder of Urriah the Hittite, her husband “my bones are crushed within me,” in other words the guilt of my sin weighs me down and I have no rest. Or think about the prodigal son in Luke 15. He went and chased after the ways of the world. He pursued sin and he found himself in a horrible place, having to clean up after the pigs and feed them, and he was so desperate he wanted to eat what the pigs were eating. For a Jewish man things couldn’t get much worse. It was a place of absolutely no rest and what was it that brought him to that place? His sin.
Peter went out and wept bitterly after denying Jesus. His sin brought him to a place where rest couldn’t be found. Judas hung himself after betraying Jesus. Why? He was in a place of no rest. Adam and Eve once had a great garden, a paradise they could rest in, but they were evicted because of their sin. Stephen on the other hand in Acts 7 simply “fell asleep” even though he was being stoned for being a follower of Jesus. What made the difference? He had had his sins forgiven and he wasn’t living in those sins anymore.
Sin keeps us from God, sin keeps us from rest. So how do we find rest? Only in the arms of Jesus. Listen again, “come unto me all you who are weak and heavy laden and I will give you REST.” True, real, satisfying rest. If you are weak and heavy laden from sin and from worry and from chasing after the things of the world (Solomon says trying to find satisfaction in things in like a chasing after the wind, you run run run but never catch it – again a picture of no rest), turn around and run to Jesus. Run to Him, come unto Him and He will give your rest.