All that stuff in Numbers happened a really long time ago. It doesn't mean anything for the Christians this book is addressed to, right?
Wrong. Anyone who's faithful can still get the good stuff that God had promised to the Israelites. If they had listened to him, they would have been able to stroll into the Promised Land and "enter [God's] rest."
What does that mean?
We're glad we asked. Basically, the author of Hebrews thinks the ancient Israelites were unfaithful to God. They knew what he wanted them to do, but they decided they'd rather be doing other things (like sinning). That's why they couldn't make it into the Promised Land to rest and relax.
But even though the Jewish people settled in for a little down time a long time ago, God's still offering the chance for his people to "enter his rest" today. Huh?
Well, remember back in Genesis? On the seventh day "God rested" (Genesis 2:3). Well, the author thinks that's the kind of rest that the faithful should be aiming for.
After God created the entire world, he entered into a peaceful state of calm and relaxation. He wasn't shaping men out of clay or gluing the wings on birds. He just was.
And that's the kind of rest that Christians should be looking for through Jesus, says Hebrews. The ability to just sit and be with God.
If you want to make it to this restful place, it continues, you've got to keep the faith (unlike the ancient Israelites). If you don't, God will know—it's pretty tough to hide stuff from him.
Why? Because his word is alive and working in the world. It's sharp, too. Sharper than even a two-edged sword—and it can cut through you like butter.
But it's not all judgment and sword slashing. There's Jesus, too.
Remember, since Jesus became human, he knows how everyone struggles with this whole sin thing. Sure, he didn't ever sin himself, but he knows it's tough and he totally sympathizes.
In conclusion: if you're in need of grace and mercy, you know whose throne you should be heading over to.