* felt the need to “go deeper” in your relationship with God?
* felt like your Christian walk has stalled and you desire to go “to the next level”?
* felt a “lack of hunger” that it seemed others in church or home group appeared to have?
If you have, chances are you have let a little Old Covenant slip into your Christian journey and didn’t realize it.
Sons vs. Servants
The Children of Israel struggled with the same frustration. God’s desire was to take them out of their slave mentality and bring them into their rest in a new land.
But they resisted.
Yes, they cried out for freedom but when they finally had it, it was too unsettling for them (Ex 16: 1-3) While they were servants they knew what the rules were. The lines were very clear. They must “do this” but “not that”. They could “go here” but “not there” They had their basic needs provided for them in slavery and they didn’t have to think to much for themselves.
God delivers his people from slavery through Moses but after their continuing grumbling and complaining in the desert God basically says:
“Ok, you want rules? I’ll give you rules. You want to know what you can do, what you can eat, and where you can go?
You want the ongoing feeling like you don’t measure up, you haven’t done enough, or that I am, in someway, distant from you?
Ok then…you want Egypt…you got it!”
In Hebrews Ch 3 and 4, the writer makes a contrast between Israel of the Old Covenant and the church of the New Covenant. Every time I hear someone share with me some form of the above frustrations in their Christian life, I can invariably trace it back to Old Covenant “ways” creeping back into the work Christ accomplished on the cross.
We have been delivered from the slavery to freedom through Christ but that freedom is unsettling for many. The result? We often end up behaving like servants who once had a horrible master but now have a much nicer master. When we run around asking:
* What are the master’s house rules?
* What are my assignments?
* Am I doing a good job? Is the master pleased with me?
* Am I doing a better job than the other servants?
* How do I “move up” in the master’s eyes and get a better position?
we still have a slave mentality!
When we think we aren’t hungry enough, deep enough, doing enough “in God” we are mirroring the same disbelief and disobedience the Israelites were guilty of in the desert.
Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness?
And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.
Hebrews 3: 16-19
There are a multitude of Christians today who are “perishing” in the “wilderness” because they refuse to believe the promises of God that he has brought them into his “rest”.
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…
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.
Hebrews 4: 1, 9-11
Old Covenant Vs. New Covenant
The reason many Christians are bound by Old Covenant chains is because many of our pastors preach a mixture of Old and New Covenant from their pulpits every Sunday morning.
What if high school teachers taught from a mixture of textbooks; half written in 2013 and the other half written in 1713?
Those students would undoubtedly have a screwed up education. They would be totally schizophrenic in their understanding of Geography, History, Science, and Politics. Their thinking and understanding of the world would be a strange concoction of the relevant and the out of date. Social behavior and how to relate to the world at large would be awkward and disjointed at best.
My two year old, Ethan George, came into my room last week just as I was waking up. Without knocking ( a son can do that) he walked in and said, “Baba”. I smiled but pretended to be asleep to see what he would do. Without any nervousness or second guessing himself, Ethan climbed up on to the bed and then laid himself out across my back. I could feel the whole of his body up against mine. He laid his head near the nape of my neck and I could feel his little baby cheek pressed against me.
I remained motionless and within the minute I could hear the slight change of breathing indicating he had fallen asleep on top of his “baba”. Feeling his warm breath against me, I laid there wishing I could just live in this moment forever.
Ethan George wasn’t burdened by the feeling he wasn’t “doing enough” to “draw close to me”. He didn’t feel a need to “go deeper” or to “the next level”. He simply walked into his papa’s room, climbed up onto his papa…and rested!
My two year old understands the New Covenant and it’s promised “rest”…
…you can too!