There are many places in Scripture where God tries to tell us just how important he considers it that His people should be walking in peace.
In the New Testament we are commanded to strive to enter the rest that the Israelites failed to enter because of disobedience (Hebrews 3: 12 – 4:11).
In the Old Testament God enshrined rest in the fourth commandment (Exodus 20:8-11). He considered it so important that the penalty for violating that commandment was death as shown in Numbers 15:32-36. Despite the penalty for breaking the Sabbath having already been told them in Exodus 31:14, when faced with the violation they hesitate before carrying it out -understandably. Of all the various death penalties meted out to the Israelites under the Law this one seems most harsh.
Thankfully we are not under the Law. Nevertheless there are sins that lead to (spiritual) death (1 John 5:16) and for us as Christians it would appear that consistently not being in rest is one of them.
Jesus emphasized again the importance of resting in Him in John 15: 1-7 when he mentions some quite shocking consequences of not abiding in Him. We can be cast out His body this way.
From my own experience I have noticed both in myself and others that if I am not in rest it is usually because I am not trusting in God – I am anxious or worried – or I am proud and rising up in myself, full of myself. Neither of these states is pleasing to God and, if continued in, they will inevitably result in separation from God.
Actually, spiritual death is worse than physical. So let’s strive to enter that rest.
And remember, there is always hope in Christ. All you have to do is come to Him. No matter where you’ve been – or how often you have been out of rest – you will find a welcome there every time you turn to him (the old fashioned word is “repent”). His death on the cross has made that possible.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Matthew 11: 28-30 (NASB).