“For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God giveth you.”
The reminder in the verse above was for the children of Israel who had yet to possess the Promised Land. Moses wanted to remind the people of God that they had much land to conquer and that the present was not the time to rest, but their rest would come when they conquered the Promised Land. In other words, they would not be able to rest until they were in Heaven. Though Israel eventually conquered most of the Promised Land, they never came to the point when they could say that they had completely conquered it all. That meant that they were not to rest until they came to their eternal rest in Heaven.
This charge that Moses gave to Israel should be adhered to by every believer. The believer’s rest won’t come until they get to Heaven. Sadly, many believers live as though they are at rest, and this premature rest has resulted in many souls not being saved, churches diminishing, and the cause of Christ losing ground in our country. Let me share several thoughts with you about the importance of not taking a premature rest.
First, there is still much ground to conquer. It doesn’t matter how much ground you have conquered spiritually; you will never conquer everything God wants you to obtain until you get to Heaven. The more that I am around godly saints in their senior years, the more I realize that we have much more to do. It is sad that many senior saints have more vision than the younger saints who have many years of health and energy to serve the LORD. My friend, this is no time to rest because many churches still need to be started. This is no time to rest because many souls still need to get saved. This is no time to rest because there are many lives that need to be salvaged from sin. This is no time to rest because there is much spiritual ground for you to conquer.
Second, a premature rest robs you of rewards when you reach your eternal rest. You are right now laying up rewards in Heaven for your eternal rest. It would be sad if you rested prematurely and lost so many rewards that the LORD would like to give you. The more time you waste living as if you don’t have to work for the LORD anymore, the more time you waste that could have been used laying up eternal rewards.
Third, a premature rest is the result of a lack of vision. When you lose your vision, you will lose your drive to work for Christ. I was recently reminded of the dire need of our world when a pastor friend called me and told me some news he learned about the number of missionaries that were being supported by the largest mission board in the world. He said that currently there are only five hundred missionaries being supported by this board. This shocked me because when my father-in-law was working from this board as a missionary, there were over one thousand missionaries. The lack of vision by God’s people has caused a premature rest, which has resulted in a lack of missionaries, pastors, evangelists and serving saints who have the faith to reach the harvest through soul winning and starting churches.
My friend, have you taken a premature rest in your walk with God? Are you busy serving the LORD? Let me encourage you to remember that your rest will come when you get to Heaven. Until then, stay busy in the work of the LORD by doing your part in reaching the lost for Christ.