Scripture: Hebrews 4:1-16 (NIV)

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. For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.

Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.” And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day.

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, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

When Luke returns to Dagobah in Return of the Jedi, he finds Yoda frail and weakened, the centuries of life finally taking their toll on him. We don’t know why Yoda, so full of life when we meet him in The Empire Strikes Back, has aged so much in a short period of time, but it is obvious that Yoda may be strong in the Force, but death will not be avoided.

“Soon I will rest, yes, forever sleep. Earned it, I have. Twilight is upon me, soon night must fall.” After his last talk with Luke, Yoda passes away and vanishes into the Force, to be seen again with Obi-Wan and Anakin at the end of the film as one with the mystical energy field. Yoda has his rest in the arms of the Force.

One day, we will pass on from this life. What the mechanics of the afterlife are, none of us really know. We could be asleep for millennia, we could be in heaven immediately. We could, as the Jewish people believed, have a sort of “waiting room” before the final judgement. However it all works, eventually we will have the chance to enter God’s rest. We will be able to find the peace that we have always lacked here on earth. No matter how well life goes on this planet, it’s not the full, deep, restful peace that the Lord has in store for us. Something is always missing here. It won’t be there.

Do not harden your hearts! While we can not truly earn our rest like Yoda did, that should not stop us from living our lives in full devotion to God. Let us accept the gift of His rest, purchased for us at such a cost by the blood of Jesus. The Battle Hymn of the Republic says, “As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free.” Let us live so that we can be free from the hand of sin and look forward to that final, eternal rest in the arms of our Lord and Savior.

 

Advertisements