Hebrews 4

God's special place of rest

1 God promised his people that they could go to his special place of rest. That promise is still true for us today. So we must be very careful. Do not fail to arrive in that place. We certainly do not want that to happen. 2 We have heard God's good news, just like God's people in the wilderness heard his message. But that message did not help them, because they did not believe it. They did not trust God, like those who obeyed him. 3 But those of us who trust God do enjoy his special place of rest. This is what God said:

‘Because I was very angry with them, I promised this:

“They will never arrive in my special place of rest.” ’

4:3See Psalm 95:11.

God said that, even though he had finished his work when he made the world. 4 In the Bible God has spoken about the seventh day like this:

‘God rested from all his work on the seventh day.’

4:4See Genesis 2:2.

5 As we have already seen, God said something later about his rest:

‘They will never arrive in my special place of rest.’

6 So we see that there is still a chance for people to go to God's place of rest. But those people who first heard God's message in the wilderness refused to obey him. As a result, they did not arrive in his special place of rest. 7 So God chose another time for people to go to his place of rest. He called it ‘Today’. A long time after Moses, David spoke God's message. As we have already seen, he said:

‘You must listen when you hear God speak today.

Do not refuse to obey him.’

8 This shows that Joshua did not bring God's people to the place where they could rest. Later, God had to speak again about another day of rest. 9 So we see this: God still has a place ready for his people, where they can rest. They will rest as God rested on the seventh day. 10 When God made the world and everything, he rested after he had finished his work. It is the same for everyone who goes to God's place of rest. They too will rest. They will no longer need to work.

4:10After Moses died, Joshua led God's people, Israel. See Joshua 1:1-2. He led them into the land that God had promised to give to them. Israel's people lived there, in their own country, for several hundred years. But that country was a picture of the place of rest that God wants to give us. God still has a special place of rest for his people. This is not a place on earth where we can rest. He wants us to rest with him for ever in the place that he has prepared for us. Even during our lives here on earth, God gives us a place of rest with himself. We know he loves us because Christ died on our behalf. There is no work that we need to do to make him love us. We can rest like this if we really believe in Jesus and we know that God has forgiven us.

11 So we must do everything possible to arrive in God's special place of rest. God's people in the wilderness did not obey him. We must not be like them. If we do not obey God, we also will fail to arrive in that place.

12 So be careful! God's message to us is alive and powerful. It is like a sword that has two sharp edges. Even more than a sword, God's message goes very deep into us. It cuts between our soul and our spirit. It is like a sharp knife that can cut deep into our body between our bones. God's message shows what we are really thinking. It shows what we really want. 13 There is nothing in the whole world that can hide from God. He sees everything clearly and he knows everything. We will have to explain to him everything that we have done during our lives.

Jesus is our great priest

14 Jesus, the Son of God, helps us as God's most important priest. He is our great priest who has gone up into heaven. We say that we believe in him. So we must continue to show people that we trust him. 15 Jesus, our great priest understands us. He knows how weak we are. He knows that we sometimes want to do wrong things. The Devil tried to make him do all those same kinds of wrong things. But Jesus never did anything wrong. 16 So we should come near to God and we should not be afraid. God is our King. We can ask him to help us when we need help. We know that he will forgive us and he will be kind to us in whatever way we need.

4:16Jesus died to save us from our sins. Now he is with God in heaven. So we can come to God and we can pray to him. We do not need to be afraid, because Jesus is there. We can ask God to help us. We can be sure that he will help us when we ask him.