Hebrews 4:9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
In Hebrews 4:4-13, the Hebrew Christians are warned, that just as their fathers failed to enter into rest under Joshua, they themselves should fail to enter into the rest provided in the finished work of Christ.
As Christians we must come to know and realize that there is no rest outside of faith in the grace of God. Rest, here, is not talking of rest in sleep or rest in death, but spiritual rest. It is coming to a relaxed attitude of trust. It is not necessarily a rest from activity; it is a rest in activity. We still work and do things. We still fulfill our responsibilities and put forth the necessary effort where it is required but it is anxiety free. It is the abiding rest of faith in another’s work. Jesus, as our Substitute, has worked all the works of God. It is the rest of faith in grace for all of God’s provisions and all He has done in the work Jesus did.
We are a people of faith who need to understand grace. Without grace, faith turns into a strain, a struggle, and an anxiety driven attempt to experience the promise of God. Without understanding grace we may be striving to reach up to God to get Him to move, not realizing God already reached down in grace. Oh yes, faith moves God, but we must realize God already moved first. That is grace. That was His part. Now our part is faith but as a response to His grace. Rest, where we come to a relaxed attitude of trust, is ours every time we believe in His promises or believe in the facts of our redemption as revealed in His Word.
Hearing the Word is how we labor to enter into rest for every promise (and fact of our redemption) (Hebrews 4:9, 10 and 2 Timothy 2:15), just like Abraham heard God speak in Genesis 12, 13, 15, and 17. Abraham reached this place after struggling, straining, worrying, and trying to help God bring His promise to pass. But God kept speaking and Abraham kept hearing and came to a place of rest. He could have avoided the strain and struggle by simply believing what God said.