"There remains therefore a rest to the people of God." Hebrews 4:9
"We seek a rest beyond the skies,
In everlasting day;
Through floods and flames the passage lies,
But Jesus guards the way.
The swelling flood and raging flame,
Hear and obey his word;
Then let us triumph in his name,
Our Savior is the Lord."
There is something peculiarly attractive in the description of heaven as a place of rest. Here is something that tends powerfully to lead the soul upwards. This fleeting scene of trouble is overlooked when the land of rest is in view.
Heaven is a state of rest- rest reserved for the righteous. How cheering is the blessed truth, "There remains therefore a rest to the people of God." How desirable, how delightful is rest to the weary traveler; to those who are almost overwhelmed with the cares and anxieties and afflictions, incident to human life! How refreshing to the sons and daughters of affliction- to those whose bodies are "chastened with pain"- is the enjoyment of rest. But what is the rest of earth to that of heaven? O, how delightful will it be for the Christian, after the storms of life to enter the desired haven of eternal rest!
"They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven." Every believer will be enabled to shout, as he steps on the shores of glory, "This is my rest forever! here will I dwell, for I have desired it." What a rest is here presented to our view, to animate us in our lonely pilgrimage! A rest from sin and suffering from toil and pain; but not from praise. A rest in the arms of Infinite Love; a rest in Abraham's bosom, with Jesus, the sinner's friend. A rest perfect, complete, and eternal. This is the saint's rest. O blessed rest! where all are resting in eternal love- blooming in eternal joy. Let this attract you. "There the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary are at rest."
You can find no rest in this world. To the Christian, life is a continual battle-field; without are fightings, within are fears. "For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms." We are commanded to "put on the whole armor of God, that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil;" and exhorted to fight the good fight of faith. There is no rest for the Christian here; it is above- in our Father's house- in the mansions of glory.
How animating to think that our rest is near at hand- that our warfare will soon be over- that our pilgrimage will soon be ended! Every day is bringing us nearer our blessed home. That joyful morning will soon dawn, when the soldiers of the cross shall honorably lay aside their weapons, and, with the garlands of victory on their brow, enter triumphantly upon that rest which remains for the people of God.
How long and loud will be those songs of victory that shall ring from rank to rank, through that mighty host, who have been more than conquerors through the blood of the Lamb, and who are now brought to enjoy sweet, eternal rest in the bosom of God! How sweet will heaven be to the weary Christian pilgrim when he finds his toilsome journey ended; when from the heights of glory he looks back on a world of sorrow through which he has passed! To the afflicted saint, that "rest" will become sweeter when he reflects on his past sufferings. There, he finds that all his tears are wiped away, and not one joy is lacking in the presence of his Savior, and in the smile of his God.
Heaven is now presented to us weary pilgrims with this powerful attraction- Rest. Would you enjoy it? Does your heart aspire after heaven's blessed rest? Then believe in Jesus; rest in him now, and you will soon rest with him in the Paradise of God. Remember that this present world is not your rest. "For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our city in heaven, which is yet to come." We are strangers and pilgrims on the earth. This is not our home. We are coming up from the wilderness with our faces Zionward; we are traveling to the celestial city. Our path is rough; but the Savior sustains us. Our pilgrimage lies through a wilderness, but faith cheers us with a view of the glorious rest of the redeemed in our Father's house- in mansions of blessedness.
And how reviving to think that faith shall soon be turned into sight! Let this consideration animate us amid the conflicts of life. In a little while we shall obtain a joyous entrance upon the rest above. The storms of life's ocean will soon carry us into the haven of peace, where there is no trouble. We shall soon rest with Christ. Then our pilgrimage will have ended, and our eternal rest have begun. From the temple of God there shall be no more going out. There, the saints shall enjoy the everlasting rest- the Sabbath of eternity. Let us be admonished to seek the saint's rest now. The language of inspiration is, "Get up, go away! For this is not your resting place, because it is defiled, it is ruined, beyond all remedy."
Your Savior, pilgrim Christian, has prepared for you a nobler rest than this polluted world. In his Father's house are many spacious mansions, where your happy spirit, after tasting the bitter cup of life's sorrow, shall rest in eternal blessedness. No restlessness will be experienced in the realms of glory. Nor sorrow, nor trouble of any kind will be there. There, the redeemed rest from their labors and cares, and doubts and fears, and spiritual conflicts. For them there is an eternal calm- a rest of perfect satisfaction in the enjoyment of God their Savior. O, what a world is that, where not a wave of trouble shall roll over the soul, where all are resting in the enjoyment of Him, who is "a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert, and the shadow of a great rock in a hot and weary land."
Heavenly rest should attract us. "Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience." "Return unto your rest, O my soul: for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you." In view of such a glorious rest beyond the grave, well may we exclaim, "Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from all their toils and trials; for their good deeds follow them!" "For all who enter into God's rest will find rest from their labors, just as God rested after creating the world."
Blessed Jesus! enable me to rely, with cheerful hope, on your dying love, until I reach the blissful mansions, and enter upon my joyful rest.
"Then shall I bathe my weary soul,
In seas of heavenly rest;
And not a wave of trouble roll
Across my peaceful breast."