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Promised Rest for God’s People

God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God.[a] For only we who believe can enter his rest. As for the others, God said,

“In my anger I took an oath:
    ‘They will never enter my place of rest,’”[b]

even though this rest has been ready since he made the world. We know it is ready because of the place in the Scriptures where it mentions the seventh day: “On the seventh day God rested from all his work.”[c] But in the other passage God said, “They will never enter my place of rest.”[d]

So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted:

“Today when you hear his voice,
    don’t harden your hearts.”[e]

Now if Joshua had succeeded in giving them this rest, God would not have spoken about another day of rest still to come. So there is a special rest[f] still waiting for the people of God. 10 For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. 11 So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.

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Footnotes

  1. 4:2 Some manuscripts read they didn’t combine what they heard with faith.
  2. 4:3 Ps 95:11.
  3. 4:4 Gen 2:2.
  4. 4:5 Ps 95:11.
  5. 4:7 Ps 95:7-8.
  6. 4:9 Or a Sabbath rest.

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