Drifters & Sleepers

Message:  Hebrews 4 is a continuance of the warning that we read in chapter 3 about staying active and aware so that we don’t wander off. The bible often compares wandering to sleeping. In the biblical sense, the word “sleep” is actually referring to death. The thing about sleeping is that we can’t usually pinpoint at what moment it actually happens. When we lay in bed at night after a productive day we might have racing thoughts, ideas and to-do lists firing off in our brains but as we force ourselves to lay still and quiet our thoughts something magical takes place when we cross that line and drift off into dreamland. This is the rewarding kind of sleep that we are supposed to have after a hard day of productive work. Have you ever noticed it’s harder to fall asleep when you’re actually trying? I might lay in bed and think for a while before drifting off into sleep at night, but when I’m at work trying to be productive, I have had times where the struggle was real to stay awake! A sleepy driver might be looking around at scenery in one moment, and fighting the urge to sleep in the next. He may know he is sleepy and despite his desire to stay awake he is completely unaware as his eyes begin to get heavy enough to close. Chapter 4 is all about the appropriate time to “enter into his rest.” This is a promise of eternity in heaven, but now is not that time. Verse 1 warns “let us pray that none of you should miss it.” How do you miss rest? By sleeping at the wrong time and in the wrong place. In this case he was reminding us that many had heard the gospel along with them, but for others “the message did not benefit them since they were not united with them who heard it in faith.” These people were drifting alone and were spiritually fighting the urge to sleep. Like the sleepy driver, people have moments of being jerked awake but if they continue to flutter their eyes they will eventually slide into a sleep that will literally drive them to their death. This is not the kind of rest that was promised and this is a warning that we need to be awake and alert for ourselves, but we also need to nudge others awake who are drifting off to sleep at the wheel.

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