“Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:11).
As we close this portion of Hebrews chapter four, we should note that verses one to eleven form a parenthetical thought. While the following (and well-known) passage from Hebrews 4:12 begins a new emphasis, we should not overlook the importance of the verse quoted above.
For instance, the people of Old Testament Israel refused to listen and act upon God’s direction, thus forfeiting their opportunity to enter His rest. Therefore, we must take note of their example and avoid traveling along a similar path of disobedience if we wish to experience God’s rest in our lives. Those who fail to do so are in danger of replicating the experience of the Israelites who wandered in a desert wilderness for decades and missed God’s best for their lives.
We should also consider how our author included himself among those who might profit from the warning of Hebrews 4:12. Notice that this passage says, “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest…” Thus, no one is excluded from this cautionary message, including the author himself.
With that, we will leave this portion of Scripture with some final thoughts from the following commentator. These observations serve to remind us that the challenge of adopting a God-honoring faith pales in comparison to the regret we are sure to experience if we fail to do so…
“The Israelites in the long ago failed to enter into the rest of God. Here the word rest is being used in the sense of the settlement of the Promised Land after the wilderness years. The reference is to Num 13:1-33 and Num 14:1-45 .
These chapters tell how the children of Israel came to the borders of the Promised Land, how they sent out scouts to spy out the land, how ten of the twelve scouts came back with the verdict that it was a good land but that the difficulties of entering into it were insuperable, how Caleb and Joshua alone were for going forward in the strength of the Lord, how the people hearkened to the advice of the cowards, and how the result was that that generation of distrusting cowards were debarred for ever from entering into the rest and the peace of the Promised Land.
They did not trust God to bring them through the difficulties that lay ahead; and therefore they never enjoyed the rest they could have had.” (1)
(1) Barclay, William, William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible [Commentary on Hebrews 4]