This verse is about Joshua. The King James version (an older Bible translation) actually has the name ‘Jesus’ here. That is because the spelling of ‘Joshua’ and ‘Jesus’ is the same in the language called Greek. But really, this is about Joshua.
In the end, even Moses was not completely loyal to God on one important occasion (Numbers 20:1-13). That happened at Meribah, which Psalm 95 mentions. Because of that incident, God decided that Moses should not lead the people into Canaan.
Instead, Joshua would be their leader there. So Joshua led Israel’s army when they fought to take control of Canaan. In fact, Joshua did not start many battles. Usually, Israel’s enemies attacked first. But God gave Israel success.
Joshua led them until, at last, there was peace in their country. And that was a kind of rest (Joshua 11:23, Joshua 14:15). So God’s people were, at last, living in the country that God had promised to them. And that was a kind of relationship with God.
However, it was not the kind of ‘rest’, or relationship with God, that David mentioned in Psalm 95. It was similar in some ways. But the real relationship – and the real rest – are only for people who trust God.
Joshua knew that as well as anyone. That was why, near the end of his life, he gathered Israel’s people together (Joshua chapter 24). He told them that he, and his family, had decided to be loyal to God (Joshua 24:15). And he urged all the people to do the same.
Several centuries afterwards, in Psalm 95, God was still urging people to do that. And Hebrews 3:13 says that this is so in our present age too.
This relationship with God is the ‘rest’ that he promises. And it is for all who trust Christ (Matthew 11:28-30).
Next part: The Sabbath day’s rest (Hebrews 4:9)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.