(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Catchy title, huh? It might refer to a Jewish side salad or a chef salad if ‘Let Us’ was spelled ‘lettuce’! But it is definitely ‘Let us’! I got this idea from Bill Gibson, a retired United Methodist pastor and dear friend who is often called to preach in churches without their own regular pastor. Bill has been doing a series from the book of Hebrews, based on the words “Let us….” which appear thirteen times in the New King James Version. My wife Hope and I got to hear just one of those messages. And it was so interesting that I decided to do this series on Serving Up Hebrew ‘Let Us’!
Twice in Hebrews chapter 4, verses 1 and 11 we find the words “Let us….” (I also include verse 2):
Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them, but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it ....Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall short after the same example of disobedience.
The writer of Hebrews (we can’t say for sure who wrote the book) is emphasizing the facts of Jesus Christ mixed with a healthy dose of faith! He points back to the Israelites who were destined to wandering forty years in the Sinai desert, “…because of unbelief.” (Hebrews 3:19). It happened at Kadesh Barnea (see Numbers chapters 13 and 14).
- God had planned a marvelous rest for His Old Testament people!
✞ Rest from the rigors of slavery in Canaan! (See Exodus 6:6). ✞ Rest in their own homeland, described as “...a land flowing with milk and honey...” (Exodus 3:8 – see Deuteronomy 8:7-9). ✞ Eternal rest with the Lord! Many conservative scho- lars believe that the first book of the Bible to be written is Job. If this is true, then Job reflects a very early view of eternal life! This is how Job describes it in Job 19:25 through 27 (International Standard Version): As for me, I know that my Vindicator is alive.....Even after my skin has been destroyed, clothed in my flesh I will see God, whom I will see for myself. My own eyes will look at Him—there won't be any one else for me!—He is the culmination of my innermost desire.
- Twelve spies were sent into Canaan to reconnoiter the land God had promised to be Israel’s homeland. Ten of the twelve brought back a negative report:
The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight. (Numbers 13:32, 33).
And all Israel succumbed to unbelief in God’s good promises, and they rebelled! (See Numbers 14:1-4). As quoted above in Hebrews 2:2, “…but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” So God told them, “They shall not enter My rest.” (Hebrews 4:3, 5 – see also Psalm 95:11). Faith in God and His Word is the key – whether it is the ancient Israelites about to enter the ‘rest ’ of the Promised Land or modern day people seeking the ‘rest ’ of eternal life in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Let’s look a bit closer at the two “Let us…” in our featured Scripture:
- Hebrews 4:1 – “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.” In Jesus there are two degrees of rest:
✞ The complete and perfect heavenly rest! ★ Luke 16:25 – “...now...Lazarus [the crippled beggar]...is comforted...in Abraham’s bosom [paradise]....” ★ Revelation 14:13 – “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord...that they may rest from their labors....” ★ Revelation 21:4 – “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” ✞ The rest Jesus makes available in this life to those “...who labor and are heavy laden...” when we “Take [His]...yoke upon [us]...and learn from [Him]...” (Matthew 11:29). ✞ The rest from the bondage on sin! As Jesus said in John 8:34 and 36, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin….Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”
All three degrees of rest are attained by faith in the promises of the Lord Jesus Christ!
- Hebrews 4:11 – “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall short after the same example of disobedience.”
✞ We might think concerning disobedience as overtly disobeying what God directs us to do! ✞ But disobedience is just as much not having faith in what the Lord says!
Now here is a question for you to ponder: How often do you, Christian, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…”? (Colossians 3:16).
- How often do you read your Bible? (See Isaiah 34:16).
- How often do you study God’s Word? (See II Timothy 2:15).
- How often do you commit to memory portions of Scripture that stand out to you? (See Psalm 119:9-11).
How else are we going to know what the Lord says, so we can put our faith in His Word?
God forbid that we, as did the ancient Israelites, come up short in our faith so that we will not enter God’s rest !