Verse 12 of Hebrews 4 is one of those cliche-busting verses that you read once and understand then read twice and really understand.
Initially, I pictured the soldier, clad in the Ephesians 6 armor, weilding the blue blade of the Spirit, ready to strike down God’s enemies. But upon careful examination of the contect, I was shaken. The Sword is piercing to the very soul and is cutting away pretenses. A very different picture to be sure.
The backdrop for this steely reality is a nation of people, chosen by God and given a promise by God, that never entered into His reast because they did not believe His promises. His Word cut right to their hearts. Sure, you can cross the Red Sea when the armies of Egypt are hot on your trail. But will you walk into a land of giants when the only driving factor is your faith in His promises? You know the story–ten were bad and two were good.
And I think that’s really why it’s so important yet so difficult to immerse yourself in the Word of God; not because You’ll always learn something new or even something new about yourself. You’ll be faced with a choice. And that’s exactly why verse 11 tells us to labor to enter into that rest. Not an attempt at dead works (which are condemned in 6:1), but an intensity of purpose followed by an intensity of effort toward the realization of that purpose, every ounce of which is powered by Jesus Christ (see v.14-16)!