Psalm 95 starts sweet, and we love to quote it: “Oh come let us sing to the Lord… Let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker (literally, ‘our Doer’).”
But we don’t quote the end: “Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as at Meribah… for forty years I loathed that generation… Therefore, I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’”
We don’t quote the end of Psalm 95, unless we’re trying to get someone to do something that they don’t want to do, and that’s ironic, for “rest” is to do only what you want to do.
If I’m commanded to rest, I don’t rest; trying to sleep is the most unrestful thing I do.
Repeatedly, God commanded Israel to rest.
In numerous ways, he tells them why: “You will sabbath, for in six days I labored and on the seventh I rested, for all was done. I create you. I save you. And I sanctify you.”
Then God says, “Above all… You shall keep the Sabbath… Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death.” (Exodus 31:12-14).
The harder I work at resting, the less I do.
The Sabbath commandment is a death sentence and a promise: “You shall keep my Sabbath.”
Hebrews 3 and 4 quote Psalm 95 extensively, and then the author writes, “Strive to enter that rest.” That rest is God’s rest, which Moses and the Israelites “did not enter.”
And yet, we know that Moses was transfigured with Jesus and stood on the mountain in the Holy Land.
And we know that all Israel will be saved, for the Son of Man prophesies to the dry bones (Ez. 37), and the whole house of Israel rises from the dead, and God places them in the land.
“Today… Strive to enter that rest,” wrote the author of Hebrews.
He didn’t write “strive to rest,” and that’s good for that’s an oxymoron.
He wrote “strive to enter God’s rest,” as if God’s rest was a reality that one could enter, like a tent, tabernacle, house, garden or land.
What is God’s Rest?
The author of Hebrews says that it remains for some to enter.
It is God’s works, “finished from the foundation of the world.”
It is the Seventh Day of Creation, when God saw everything that he had made and behold it was very good and it is finished.
Every week we’re commanded to testify that God’s work is finished, and that the seventh day is not like the other six days. It’s sometimes pictured as an eighth that, in Hebrew thought, is an endless seventh.
The seventh day is older than the first day and has no end, for it is the end and the beginning; it is not perishable, but imperishable; it’s not temporal, but eternal.
God’s rest has always been and will always be.
And God’s rest is all that is, for all that is, is what God has done, for his works were “finished from the foundation of the world.”
And you are his work… so is Moses.
This means that the Moses transfigured on the mountain is older and younger than the Moses that wandered in the desert.
And it means that you are already seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
God’s rest is reality.
So, what is unrest, but a lack of reality and the presence of evil?
So where is evil?
Evil is like an emptiness in chronological time, that is, space-time.
This world is not an explosion of somethingness in the nothingness.
It is an explosion—a big bang—of nothingness in the somethingness that is God.
But one day, the seventh day, it will be filled with Glory, just as Moses was filled with Glory on the mountain, and we will, and have been, filled with Glory—the manifestation of God’s Word spoken into the void: Jesus.
Today, when you hear his voice, do not harden your heart.
You can’t create yourself; you can only be yourself, now.
Your identity is not “an achievement;” it is a gift.
I enter God’s Rest, because God’s Rest, enters me… and then I know, “it is finished.”
I know that all that needs to be done, has already been done, so all I can do is what God has done and is doing, which is what I want to do.
I’m not the Creator, but I am the re-creator, the recreator.
The seventh day is a holy day, a holiday, when I only do what I want to do; and I can do all things in Christ Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath.
Little children do everything, not because anything “needs to be done,” but because all has been done. And so, all their work is play: toy mowers and easy bake ovens.
Heaven is not doing nothing, but doing all things without the illusion of independence, isolation, shame, and fear.
God’s Rest is constant freedom, love, life, and ecstasy. And “it is finished.”
But it doesn’t exist, by definition, if there is a place where God’s work is endlessly unfinished and some of his children are endlessly not made in his image.
We can’t “enter his rest,” if there is no such place.
The dirtiest trick—maybe the only trick—of the devil is to get me to think that God’s Rest is dependent on me, when I am totally dependent on God’s Rest.
So How do we enter God’s Rest?
1. We must have faith that there is such a thing, which means:
2. We must die… to our own ego.
And that’s a miracle, for you can’t kill your ego with your ego, and faith is a gift of grace that none may boast (that’s your ego).
At best, we can position ourselves for the miracle; we can expose ourselves to the Judgement of God… And that’s exactly what Psalm 95 is all about.
“Come into his presence with praise.”
Worship is the sacrifice of praise and what we sacrifice is the ego.
“Let us kneel before the Lord our God our Doer.”
When I realize that all I need to do has been done, my ego dies.
That hurts. But it is a beautiful death; it is Life Eternal.