Violently persecuted in his home land, he joined a group who fled by boat, hoping for safety on some different shore. But, what they found was terror – from pirates, from storms at sea and even from one another. In desperation, he jumped overboard. Soon, he was exhausted from his futile attempts to swim, surrounded by sharks and coughing up sea water with every breath. A ship drew near and a life ring was thrown. Should he take it? Nothing to lose, he thought, and grabbed it. The next thing he was aware of was waking up in a comfortable bed, washed, rested and fed. He made his way up on deck, found a place to hide and watched intently for any kind of danger. When the men working on deck noticed him, he raced away to the rail, preparing himself to fight or jump.
That is when he heard the voice of the captain, saying, “You are safe here and we will not hurt you. You do not need to hide, or dash back and forth, watching and worrying about who is coming. If you trust me, you can rest from all that. Of course, if you are too frightened to trust me, too used to scheming and fighting to protect yourself, you can keep doing so. I cannot force you to rest, but rather, I invite you to do so. How about it? Don’t you want to leave all this stress behind and rest?”
Could this be real? Could it be true? He had to decide: either listen to his old fears, try to protect himself and jump overboard or trust the captain and rest.
Hebrews 4, an extended warning about failing to trust God and missing out, also contains these lines about His promise of rest for those who trust:
“Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.” (Hebrews 4:1)
“Now we who have believed enter that rest, …” (Hebrews 4:3a)
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” (Hebrews 4:7b)
“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest,…” (Hebrews 4:9-11a)