Lord, we heard the voice of Your Spirit when You called us.
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.
- Hebrews 3:11 Psalm 95:7-11
- Hebrews 3:15 Psalm 95:7,8
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.
‘Yet to all who did receive Him … He gave the right to become children of God.’ (John 1:12). Rejoice in your status as a child of God.
A wise parent encouraging a child to do something will explain why. The writer of Hebrews does the same. Throughout the letter, explanation, normally in the form of exposition of Old Testament passages or ideas, is interwoven with exhortation; sometimes in distinct blocks, sometimes with the different strands less distinguishable. In today’s verses he argues from an incident in the history of Israel by expounding upon Psalm 95:7–11, which draws on events recorded in Exodus 17:7 and Numbers 14:12. Israel complains about God, despite the deliverance from Egypt, and refuses to believe that his power could guarantee entry into the Promised Land. Many years later, the psalmist interprets these events for his own generation, and now the writer of Hebrews does the same for his – as we must do for ours. A generation of Israelites failed to enter the Promised Land because of unbelief and disobedience. For the psalmist and the writer of Hebrews, their example serves as a warning.
It is always ‘Today’ (15), the day of opportunity and possibility, and we are urged to make the most of it so that we avoid turning away (12) and missing out on the promise of God’s future; we are to hold on to the end. Yesterday we saw that the way to avoid missing out is to focus all our attention on Jesus. Today we see the responsibility we have for one another in the community of God’s people (13). Mutual encouragement is a frequent New Testament note (2 Cor 13:11; 1 Thess 5:14; Gal 6:1,2). Sometimes we feel weak, and we benefit from the support of others; sometimes we are in a position to support those who struggle. Ahead of us lies a great goal, but the road is sometimes hard and the temptation to give up is strong – we need one another.
Are you struggling? Find a fellow Christian to support and encourage you. Do you know someone who is finding life tough? Encourage them, as you have the opportunity.
Lord, thank You for furnishing real life examples from the Old Testament of what happens to those who resist You.
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