And we still have the promise that God gave those people. That promise is that we can enter his place of rest. So we should be very careful that none of you fails to get that promise. Yes, the good news about it was told to us just as it was to them. But the message they heard did not help them. They heard it but did not accept it with faith. Only we who believe it are able to enter God’s place of rest. As God said,
I was angry and made a promise:
They will never enter my place of rest.’ ” Psalm 95:11
But God’s work was finished from the time he made the world. Yes, somewhere in the Scriptures he talked about the seventh day of the week. He said, “So on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” But in the Scripture above God said, “They will never enter my place of rest.”
So the opportunity is still there for some to enter and enjoy God’s rest. But those who first heard the good news about it did not enter, because they did not obey. So God planned another special day. It is calledtoday.” He spoke about that day through David a long time later using the words we quoted before:
If you hear God’s voice today,
don’t be stubborn.” Psalm 95:7-8
We know that Joshua did not lead the people into the place of rest that God promised. We know this because God spoke later about another day for rest. This shows that the seventh-day rest* for God’s people is still to come. 10 God rested after he finished his work. So everyone who enters God’s place of rest will also have rest from their own work just as God did. 11 So let us try as hard as we can to enter God’s place of rest. We must try hard so that none of us will be lost by following the example of those who refused to obey God.
12 God’s word is alive and working. It is sharper than the sharpest sword and cuts all the way into us. It cuts deep to the place where the soul and the spirit are joined. God’s word cuts to the center of our joints and our bones. It judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts. 13 Nothing in all the world can be hidden from God. He can clearly see all things. Everything is open before him. And to him we must explain the way we have lived.
Jesus Christ Is Our High Priest
14 We have a great high priest who has gone to live with God in heaven. He is Jesus the Son of God. So let us continue to express our faith in him. 15 Jesus, our high priest, is able to understand our weaknesses. When Jesus lived on earth, he was tempted in every way. He was tempted in the same ways we are tempted, but he never sinned. 16 With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it.
4:4 Quote from Genesis 2:2. * 4:9 seventh-day rest Literally, “Sabbath rest,” meaning a sharing in the rest God began after he created the world. 4:12 God’s word God’s teachings and commands.