“Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”” (Hebrews 4:6–7, ESV)
Having lived in Pennsylvania as a youngster, I became quite familiar with “Groundhog Day.” Every February 2nd, an official in Punxsutawney Pennsylvania takes the little rodent out of his cage with about 40,000 people watching. According to a Pennsylvania Dutch superstition, if the groundhog sees his shadow due to clear skies, there would be six more weeks of winter. So as a kid who wanted the warmer weather to arrive, I would pay keen attention to the forecast, hoping that the groundhog would not see his shadow. Over time, I discovered that the furry predictor was only right about 50% of the time.
Unlike the furry little rodent whose predictions are no better than a coin toss, the Scriptures prove 100% reliable. There are numerous harbingers in the Scriptures indicating things that were to come. One that we often overlook, the author mentioned here.
The author of Hebrews has been writing about entering God’s rest. He wrote about how the Jews that left Egypt had angered God because of their refusal to believe His promise. For this God swore that they would not enter His rest. That is, they would not enter the Promised Land. In fact, they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years until the entire corrupt generation died out. Only Joshua and Caleb would enter in. Then Joshua led the nation in the conquest of Canaan. He took them across the Jordan River and took possession of the Promised Land.
However, the writer of Hebrews now takes his Jewish readers to look at a Psalm of David to understand that the promise of entering God’s rest still stands. He explains that it remains for some to enter that rest and then quotes David from Psalm 95 to make His point. David wrote this Psalm many years after Joshua led the people into the Promised Land, somewhere around 400 years later. In the Psalm, David spoke of another day when people would enter that rest.
In Hebrews 4:8, the author indicates that if Joshua had given the people rest, God would not have appointed another day to enter that rest. Then he reiterates David’s words, “Today.” He again pleads with the Jews, who know the message of God’s permanent rest that is found by faith in Christ alone, to enter that rest by faith.
Psalm 95 was a harbinger for the Jews that looked forward to the permanent rest that was to come. The author goes on to say, “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.” (Hebrews 4:10, KJV 1900) His words were not just for the Jews, but for all of us. We can enter that rest. Jesus stated it, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28, KJV 1900) Only Jesus offers a permanent rest for our souls. Today make your calling and election sure. Trust in Christ alone.