SOFTEN YOUR HEART
Open my heart to Your Spirit today, Father God.
Read Hebrews 3:7–19
Warning Against Unbelief
7 So, as the Holy Spirit says:
“Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
during the time of testing in the wilderness,
9 where your ancestors tested and tried me,
though for forty years they saw what I did.
10 That is why I was angry with that generation;
I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,
and they have not known my ways.’
11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”[a]
12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. 15 As has just been said:
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion.”[b]
16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThe greatest commandment from God is to love Him with everything we are (Mark 12:30). How are you doing with that today?
Hebrews is famous for its warning passages. This is one of them (others are 6:4–8; 10:26–31). The warning here is: don’t repeat the mistake that the Israelites made. They began okay – by following Moses out of Egypt (16). But when things got difficult, even the God who had parted the sea to save them couldn’t be trusted to give them water to drink! So God was angry with them (10,11,17). In the end, they perished in the wilderness (17) and did not enter God’s ‘rest’ (18). These verses warn us: don’t be like them. Or you too risk not entering God’s ‘rest’ (19).
The Israelites’ problem was they thought they knew a better way to satisfy their thirst than trusting in God’s provision. ‘Why did you bring us here? We had water back in Egypt’ (Exodus 17:3)! Don’t make the same mistake. Instead, remember that this is the living God (12), who speaks to you (7,15), who wants you to share in Christ (14), who wants you with Him now and in the forever rest of eternal life. Sin cannot satisfy, only God can quench the thirst in our souls. Believe in Him. He can be trusted. Keep a soft heart towards God.
Have some of life’s circumstances or preoccupations caused you to harden your heart to God in some areas? Humbly ask God to show you where this may have happened.
Father God, even in testing times, help me love You with everything I am.