Hebrews 4:8-9 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not speak later of another day. So then, there remains a sabbath rest for the people of God;
What do you know about Joshua, the son of Nun? Did you know his name was not always Joshua, he received this name from Moses, when he became Moses assistant, in our terms he was more chief of staff and commander of the army. You will remember that Moses was 80 when he began the work of bringing the people to the promised land, Joshua was about 40 years younger.
Joshua was one of the spies that came back, to report that the land was indeed flowing with milk and honey. Joshua had gone part way up the mountain, when Moses went to get the tables of the law. Joshua had not taken part in the worship of the golden calf, or in any of the rebellions, or the grumbling against God. Of the generation that had been born in Egypt, only a very few were faithful during all the wanderings, and Joshua was one of the few. So, when Moses died, Joshua became the leader, and by this time he was 80 years old.
Joshua led the people of God into the promised land. And as Moses had parted the red sea [though it was God who did it] so also, Joshua would part the Jordan river, so that again the people could pass over on dry ground. But once across, then came the first test, for the first city to conquer was Jericho. Do you know about the fall of Jericho? It was a walled city, the walls were 6-10í thick - Israel didnít have siege engines or catapults or time to wait until Jericho would run out of food and water. What did they do? For 6 days the army marched around the city carrying the ark of the covenant and blowing trumpets. But on the 7th day, when the trumpets blew, the people shouted, and the walls fell down - it wasnít the shout, it was the power of God. Jericho was to be destroyed, and all the plunder was to be dedicated to God, all the citizens of Jericho were to die, except for the family of Rahab the Harlot, who had helped the spies escape from the city, endangering her life.
For the next 30 years there would be many more battles as the land was conquered and settled. In all that time, only one battle was lost, and that was not Joshuaís fault, but someone hadnít obeyed Godís command, and all suffered for it. Joshua had brought the people to the promised land. Joshua had made certain that the people knew God Word and Godís ways. Joshua had been a good leader, and he had lived up to his name - which means God saves. But Jesus is better than Joshua.
Jesus saves, and Jesus brings us to the promised land, heaven. In that way Jesus and Joshua are similar, you see Jesus is the Greek form of the name Joshua, and so it also means God saves . But Jesus takes us to a better country, and Jesus saves us from fiercer enemies, for Jesus has conquered all foes, sin, death and even the devil are conquered.
But perhaps the biggest thing that makes Jesus salvation better, is that when Jesus saves, he also gives us rest and peace. You see, after Joshua, there would still be over 400 years of fighting, for it was not until the time of David that the last cities were conquered. Thatís a lot of fighting. And thatís what our text reminds us of, that as great as Joshua was, there would be no rest, no peace for a long time to come.
Jesus has come, and Jesus bring peace. This does not mean that there will no longer be fighting, or wars. Jesus brings peace, but families still may bicker and quarrel. For the peace Jesus brings is first of all, peace with God. We can have peace with God because Jesus paid our debt, suffered our punishment, and all we deserve on account of all our sins. If we have peace with God in Jesus Christ, then we can be at peace with ourselves, because we have come to know the love of God and the grace of God. There will still be struggles, and we will still face many temptations, but when we remember the blood bought gift of redemption in the cross of Christ, we find the power to overcome temptation and to turn away from sin. In Christ we already have this victory, although sometimes we fail to use what we have been given. And as we have peace with God and peace in ourselves in Christ, so we can live in peace, by the grace of God. And no longer need we be slaves of an army of constant vigilance and countless battles, for in Christ, there is a Sabbath rest, and by faith we can rest from our labors, and refresh ourselves with the grace of God, and his word, knowing that God provides for all our needs, and God has given us this rest.