That is why I was angry with that generation;
I said, Their hearts are always going astray,
and they have not known my ways.
So I declared on oath in my anger,
They shall never enter my rest. (Hebrews 3:10-11)
Have you ever been driving along a highway, having tanked up your bladder on some huge, convenience-store carbonated beverage, only to reach that moment when, if presented with the choice between a restroom and a sack full of money, you’d opt for the restroom? I have. In fact, this happened to me recently during a road trip to Tulsa. Until that gender-marked door closes behind you, there is no ease, no relaxation, no rest.
That’s where my peculiar mind goes when I think of the disobedient people of Israel wandering in the wilderness, unable to cross into the land of promise. Instead, they’re forced to hang out in tents, eating manna, and forever searching for a Johnny on the Spot.
I realize that this notion seems rather irreverent, but I think there’s something to be learned from this notion. When I pull in to QuikTrip at the outset of a long drive, there’s a little voice–I wouldn’t ascribe it to the Holy Spirit, but I could be wrong–that says “You’ll be sorry if you guzzle that stuff down.” After leaving Kansas City, I might make it as far as Columbia before finding myself in the just-pull-off-the-road zone. I’ll scurry in to yet another place–probably another QuikTrip–and, having dealt with my pressing need, will almost certainly refill my cup. What sort of idiocy is this?
I’m not sure that God cares greatly about the comfort of my bladder, but I am certain that he cares about my overall obedience. I know that my obedience leads to a sense of ease, a sense that, even when things are difficult, God is in control and attending to matters. It takes me into the Promised Land of God’s rest.
I know this truth. I’ve experienced it, yet just as I refill that cup, I also stray from the obedience that will keep me in God’s rest. You’d think I’d learn.