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Labor Day Devotion

Labor Day Devotion
Hebrews 4:1-3

I hope you’re having a restful Labor Day today. I want to thank gotquestions.org for their help in this short devotion today.

The Hebrew word for “Sabbath rest” is Shabbat, which means “to rest, or cease from labor or work.” In Genesis Chapter 2, after creating the heavens and the earth in six days, God rested on the seventh day from all of his work, all of his labor. Not because he was tired but because he ceased from his labor of creation.

God used that example of his own resting on the seventh day of creation to establish the principle of the Sabbath rest for his people. And it became the fourth of the Ten Commandments. And God’s people were to remember the Sabbath rest and keep it holy, which means “to set it apart for God.” This was not just a physical rest. But it was a ceasing from all laboring to achieve or sustain anything in their lives that they were trying to achieve or sustain. But they had to begin their labor again after one day because that rest was not permanent. It was only symbolic. That’s what I want you to know. This rest from their labor symbolized the coming of the Messiah, who would provide a permanent rest for his people.

With the establishment of the Old Testament law, the Jews were constantly laboring to make themselves “right” with God. But, of course, they couldn’t possibly keep God’s law, so God provided sin offerings for them so that they could come to him for forgiveness and restore fellowship with him. But it was temporary. It also was temporary, and it just covered over their sins. And so, just as they had to labor again after one day of rest, they also had to continually offer sacrifices to temporarily atone for their sin.

Hebrews 10:1 (NLT) says, 1 The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship.

Those sacrifices were offered in anticipation of the ultimate once-and-for-all sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross.

Hebrews 10:12 (NLT) says, 12 But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. After Jesus had offered his once-and-for-all, ultimate sacrifice for our sin, he sat down at the right hand of God, and he rested. He ceased from his labor of atonement. He ceased because there was nothing left to do. It was finished. Tetelestai. It was finished. There was nothing more to be done, ever. And because of what Jesus Christ has done, we no longer have to labor in law-keeping in order to be justified in the sight of God. Jesus was sent so that we might find rest in God. And that we might find rest in what God has provided in Jesus Christ.

In Jesus, we find complete rest from the labor of all of our self-effort because Jesus, alone, is holy and righteous. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV) says, 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (That’s in Christ.) And so, because of that exchange, we can now cease from all of our religious efforts, our spiritual labors, and we can rest in Christ. Not just for one day, but forever.

Hebrews Chapter 4 is the critical passage regarding Jesus being our Sabbath rest.

Hebrews 4:1-3 (NLT)
1 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.
2 For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. (The Israelites in the Wilderness.) But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God.
3 For only we who believe can enter his rest…

And then Hebrews 4:9-10 (NLT) say, 9 So there is a special rest 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. Guys, there is no other Sabbath rest, no other true Sabbath rest besides Jesus. He alone satisfies the requirements of the law. And he alone provides the sacrifice that atones for sin. Jesus Christ is God’s only way for us to cease from our own labor of trying to make ourselves right with God. (Religion does that.) God provided Christ to do that once and for all.

And so, I pray today that you would not only have rest from your earthly work but that you would (much more importantly) find permanent rest from all of your labor to make yourself right with God. Guys, receive Jesus Christ as your true Sabbath rest and find true and eternal rest in him today. God bless your day.
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