Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through the same pattern of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword — piercing right through to a separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. No creature is hidden from Him, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:11-13 TLV
This week has seen some controversial decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Many conservatives feel we now live in a country ruled by a majority of the nine justices. Whatever they say is now the law despite constitutional safeguards that should prevent such a power grab.
Liberals think the rulings were right and just. That the will of the people and the intent of the laws were upheld. They say this now makes America a better country with everyone more equal.
How should we, as followers of The Way, react?
I spent some time looking through different ministry blogs to get some reactions. What I found ranged from labeling this an”open act of defiance aimed directly at HaShem,” to “God has not gone anywhere.”
Then I came across this quote:
“Allow me to give you the gospel in just two sentences. The good news of Jesus Christ: 1) God is going to get the world that God wants. 2) No matter how much God has got to rock your world to get it.”
Will Willimon, a professor of ministry at Duke University, ended one of his sermons with these words. But it wasn’t about the events of this week. This sermon was from November 2012.
These words speak to us today. God has a plan for the world and He will bring it out in His way.
Scripture tells us about the end times and how evil will flourish. I’m not sure that we are in the immediate end times, things may still get worse, but I think we are at least seeing the beginning of the end.
So what do we do when God rocks our world, our country, our lives, in order to get the world He wants?
We make every effort to enter God’s rest.
The author of Hebrews tells us about the Israelites being led into the Promised Land by Moses. After 400 years of slavery, hard labor and attempted genocide, God was taking them out of Egypt and bringing them into the land flowing with milk and honey.
It would be a contrast to everything they had known for generations. Instead of slavery – freedom. Instead of labor – rest. Instead of death – life. God was getting ready to rock their world.
But the generation that left Egypt couldn’t bring themselves to have faith in God’s promises. They rebelled against Him often in their short journey.
So God promised them that because of their disobedience, they would not enter His rest.
Even today, there are those who hear the Word of God but have no faith to keep it. They do not turn from their sins and seek repentance.
In the Parable of the Sower in the Gospels, this is the seed that is cast by the roadside. The Word is snatched away by the enemy before it can take root.
The author of Hebrews encourages us to make every effort to enter the Sabbath rest of God. It’s the effort, the attempt, to enter the rest that will keep us from disobedience. Our active submission will strengthen and increase the faith that God gives us.
According to David Stern’s Jewish New Testament Commentary, the writer “ties the concept of obedience to that of trusting and being faithful.”
We are to obey the Word of God. It is a living Word that gets down inside of us and lays bear our intentions. It proves whether we are really following God or straying down our own path.
James writes in his epistle that looking into the Word is like looking in a mirror. It shows us how we should live and convicts us when we fall short. We may not like what we see but it’s an honest reflection of who we are.
We may get offended by the Gospel and quickly move on but that misses the point. Instead, we should see if anything is out of place in our lives and bring it in line with God’s desires.
It is good to do this on our own before God does (and He will!). Paul wrote to the Corinthians that they should judge themselves before God has to judge and discipline them. But we can’t measure ourselves against the Bible if we’re not familiar with it. Judging ourselves takes an intimate knowledge of and obedience to Scripture.
Following the commands of God, His Torah, not only strengthens our faith but also shines His light into this darkened world. Our faith and obedience become our testimony that will overcome the evil one.
Don’t be depressed over what has happened this week. God is still in control and this was always in His plan. He will use His elect to bring His Word into the world and convict them of their sins. For some, this will lead to rebellion and more disobedience. But for others, it will bring them to eternal life through Yeshua.
This is my answer about what we need to do.
Stay in the Word and apply it to your life. Walk a dedicated walk that sets you apart as holy to Him. Let the world see your good works so that whoever will may glorify HaShem.
And while your thinking of ways to obey the Creator remember the commandment to “Rejoice in the Lord always!” Even when God rocks your world.
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who calls us to obey Your commandments that we may enter into Your rest.