"The Way of the Rest"

Train stations in Japan often list stops in both Kanji and English. This one did not. The longer I stared at the sign, the more it mocked me.

Finally, I asked the woman standing next to me: "Do you speak English?" "A little," she said. She understood where I wanted to go and motioned for me to follow her. We got on a train, and she drew a map with the stops listed in English and Japanese. Then she took me to the correct line for my transfer. She didn't just tell me the way; she showed me the way.

When God brought the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, He didn't merely tell them which way to go; He showed them the way with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:20-22). The people, however, repeatedly refused to trust their Provider-God. They hardened their hearts and rebelled against Him (v.8; Psalm 95:7-8). The consequences were disastrous. Their "corpses lay in the wilderness," said the writer of Hebrews (3:17).

Today, God shows us the way through the guidance of His Word and the illumination of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17). Yet we too can stubbornly ignore His step- by-step guidance. That's why Hebrews says of those disbelieving Israelites, "Because of their unbelief they were not able to enter His rest" (3:19). Then the author draws a clear distinction: "They didn't share the faith of those who listened to God. For only we who believe can enter His rest" (4:2-3).

Not finding the right train route is a mere inconvenience. Knowing our ultimate destination in life and yet refusing to follow it is a mistake with eternal consequences. The question to ask ourselves is this: Are we among those who believe?

, Tim Gustafson, Our Daily Journey