All Work and No Play (Hebrews 4:3-5)

Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’” And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.” And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” (Hebrews 4:3-5)

I felt rather guilty earlier today. Having run several loads of water and loaded a bunch of construction gleanings in the back of my truck, I determined to move inside to the land of air conditioning. The problem, however, came when I saw Penny still slaving away at mudding and taping the sheetrock in our former garage/new living room.

How could I sit back and relax while she took spatula and mud in hand to attempt to smooth out the ragged joints I had left in the walls? That’s the question I asked myself as I walked through the garage/living room and made my way into the kitchen for a glass of tea.

Does my leisure parallel that described for God in this passage? According to our writer, God finished all of his work in the six days of creation. Then, if I read this correctly, God kicked back not just for the seventh day but for the rest of time. Are we then laboring away, excluded from God’s rest, while he sits on the couch and sips his favorite refreshing beverage?

When God finished his six days of creation, he looked at all that he’d done and declared it good. Hence the ability to rest. Then Adam and Eve got active and rendered things not-good. All the men’s horses and all the men’s men, could not get people back into a state of rest, a state of goodness. Only obedience by men–humans, of course–could recreate that state of goodness.

And the humans at hand were not up to the task.

I hardly think that God has spent any time sitting on the couch since creation. That’s not the point in today’s passage. But his work has been finished and, through Christ, he even managed to finish our human work as well, the job that we could never do on our own.