1Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.
2For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.
Like seed scattered on the ground, some catches root and grows while others dry up or gets eaten by the birds (Matthew 13:1-9). The good news preached is like scattered seed. Some who hear will profit by it by believing it and receiving Christ. Hearing the gospel alone doesn’t save a person, but the hearing must be united by faith. We have a responsibility before God to receive and believe the truth, to repent of our sins, and to trust in Christ for salvation. The last thing we as believers want is for anybody to come short of the promise of entering His rest. The promise remains and the entrance to heaven is made available in Christ, but the message heard through the preaching of the Word must be received in faith. Otherwise, there is no eternal rest.
3For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said,
"AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH,
THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST,"
although His works were finished from the foundation of the world.
4For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: "AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS";
5and again in this passage, "THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST."
6Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience,
7He again fixes a certain day, "Today," saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before,
"TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE,
DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS."
8For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that.
9So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.
10For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.
11Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.
The author quotes several Old Testament passages (Psalm 95:7, Psalm 95:11, Genesis 2:2, Exodus 20:11) to emphasize the point that the rest that is referred to cannot be understood to be only a temporary earthly resting period. Since it is possible for some to still enter God’s rest and since those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedient, it only makes sense that the rest referred to is an open invitation to enter heaven. God has been calling people to repent and obey from Moses’ time to Joshua’s time and to David’s time and beyond and before. The invitation remains open to enter His rest for those who would believe. Joshua led the Israelites in conquering Canaan, yet there was still a promise of rest in the future. This had to refer to something eternal, something spiritual. Our Sabbath rest is a resting from our trying to earn salvation by works and trusting in Christ for salvation, Who has already finished the work on the cross. This eternal rest is our eternal Sabbath.
12For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
13And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
Hebrews is such an important verse in understanding the sufficiency and potency of the written Word of God. This is why we must be devoted to preaching it, reading it, and teaching it. It can cut through to the innermost thoughts of the heart and reveal to us the truth about who we are and how we need to change. It is alive, it is active, it works, and it is powerful unto salvation (Romans ). We must never underestimate it or underutilize it. Since God can see everything, even the deepest innermost thoughts of our hearts, He can speak to us in regard to our deepest needs through His Word. He sees and knows even what we are blind to in our own hearts. God’s Word makes our hearts bare before Him so that we can properly dissect and diagnose the issues of our hearts and be sanctified before Him.
14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
15For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
16Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Jesus is our great high priest Who lived on earth, died, and rose again, having passed through the heavens to sit at God’s right hand in His eternal, spiritual heaven. Our confession needs to be heeded and remembered because our God is very real, and His Word is very powerful. Our high priest is particularly sympathetic to our circumstances and struggles because He walked the earth. He understands the weakness that comes with humanness, and He knows the lure of temptation. Yet He never sinned, and thus He is the perfect one to go to when we need help, understanding, comfort, and deliverance from sin. For the believer, His throne is not one of wrath but of grace, and we can take comfort in drawing near before it. We can have confidence that we will find mercy and grace in our time of need.