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The Quest For Rest

There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.
–Hebrews 4:9

Today, the idea of travel to other planets is no longer a fantasy; it is a reality. Not only have our astronauts walked on the moon, but people are now talking about travel to Mars. But back at the beginning of the 20th century, when space travel was only a dream, the Hayden Planetarium in New York City as a joke took out an advertisement inviting people to make reservations for a trip to the moon. Within a few days, 8,000 people had responded, requesting a reservation for a trip to the moon. Psychologists pored over the applications, and they discovered the primary motivation people had for wanting to go to the moon was to escape the responsibilities and stress of everyday life. One woman wrote, “It would be Heaven to get away from this busy earth and just go somewhere that is nice and peaceful, good, safe, and secure.” I wonder if she had just returned from a trip to the mall when she wrote those words. Have you ever felt that way before, looking for a place that is free from stress, free from anxiety? Exhaustion, anger, and anxiety are the symptoms of our age. No wonder we all long for a place for rest.

When I use the term “rest,” what comes to your mind? Perhaps your idea of rest is being able to sleep in one morning without the annoying sound of the alarm clock. Or it might be a Saturday spent engaging in your favorite sport or hobby. Or maybe it is a two-week trip to your favorite spot of relaxation. But whatever your idea of rest is, I have some good news. You do not have to wait until Saturday, you do not have to wait until retirement, you do not even have to travel to the moon to experience rest. The good news is that you can experience that freedom from stress, anger, and anxiety right now where you are.

Hebrews 4 talks about the quest for rest. Now, this passage is difficult to understand. If you read 10 different commentaries, you will get 10 different interpretations of this passage. One of the reasons this passage is difficult to interpret is because of the different way the writer uses the term “rest.” How can we understand this passage, and more importantly how can we apply it?

When Amy and I were in junior high, I was the editor of our junior high newspaper, and Amy was one of my ace reporters. And I remember very well that in our journalism class we learned that when you write the opening paragraph for a news story, you need to answer five important questions. I bet you know what those questions are. Who? What? When? Why? Where? Those are the questions we need to answer in a newspaper story.

If we are going to understand this passage in Hebrews, then it would be helpful to do it by answering those five questions. This week, we will look at Hebrews 4:1-11 to learn about our quest for rest.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Quest For Rest” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2018.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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