“The Promise of His Rest” by Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell

“The Promise of His Rest”

By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell

Scripture Readings: Hebrews Chapters 3-4

Key Verses: Hebrews 4:1, 4:3, 4:11

“Therefore, let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it.”

“For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, ‘As I swore in my wrath, they shall not enter my rest.’”

“Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience.”

This section of Hebrews emphasizes how Moses led his people for forty years through the wilderness and all the while God was faithful, reaching out to them, but they could only complain, were not united in their belief and faith to trust him, did not open their hearts to him. As a result, God said, “As I swore in my wrath, they shall not enter my rest.”Three times the Old Testament verse is quoted here.

Per my Key Word Bible, the word “rest” means both rest from everyday work, as in Sabbath, but also to rest peacefully in quiet abode, as in God’s presence in heaven.

Those who are obedient servants of the living God, of Jesus himself, will be allowed to enter his rest. And those who are not obedient, those who have hardened their hearts and who have heard the message of God’s love and have rejected it, will not enter into his rest.

I don’t know about you, but I love my time of rest. I love to have a flurry of activity and then I want to rest. Oh sweet slumber–there is nothing better than having worked hard to the point of exhaustion and then sleeping it off, waking in refreshment the next day.

I love the Sabbath. I love Sunday because it is a time of rest from my work week, it is a time for Sunday school and church worship, it is a time of holy communion which we participate in weekly at our church, it is a time when I commune with other believers as a member of the body of Christ, it is a time when I support my husband in his ministry, and a time when we can be quiet and spend some time together. I often spend Sunday in quiet reflection on the porch in the warmer weather and watch the birds. Sometimes I strum my ukulele. I love Sundays.

What a wonderful gift of God in that provision of a Sabbath. God commands us to rest from our work. The scripture says that Jesus entered into his rest after he finished his earthly ministry and that God rested when he had finished his works (v. 4:10). It is not just rest but a time of reflection and a time to be holy. I love the hymn that tells us to “take time to be holy” and to spend time with God in prayer. That’s Sabbath. That’s rest. When we are done here, may we enter into his eternal rest.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, remind me to take time to be holy, to spend time in prayer, and to be quiet enough to listen and to hear your voice. Help me to be obedient and “diligent to enter that rest.”

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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