“Today, if you hear His voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness, 9 where your fathers put me to the test
and saw my works for forty years.
10 Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known My ways.’
11 As I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.’”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.”
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 3:7-19
May I just begin by saying how loving, gracious, and merciful the Lord is for showing us righteousness versus wickedness, wisdom versus foolishness, right versus wrong, love versus hate, obedience versus disobedience and rebellion, faith versus fear…He so lovingly and graciously reveals Truth and warns us of the consequences of choosing to live opposite of His righteous standard.
There are various warnings throughout the Bible and Hebrews 3:7-11 is an example of such. The writer begins with “if you hear His voice.” It would be good to recall that it is generally agreed that the book is written primarily to Jews who fall into 3 groups.
- Jewish believers – true Christians who have left Judaism and received Christ as Lord and Savior
- Jews who have intellectual agreement but have never committed their lives to Christ, never acted on what they know
- Jews who have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ but made absolutely no response at all
To hear the voice of God and not repent and choose not to commit your heart to the Lord that you know is real, that you intellectually agree exists is to harden your heart and will bring God’s judgment. To say this in a different way, to know that God is real and love your sin and self more than the God who loves you, created you and gave His Son for you is dangerous. To say this another way, to place your trust in self or any other “g”od is sin and rebellion that is due a wage. The Lord warns us not to do this for an hard heart reaps the wage “For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23).” Look at verse 11, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’
In these verses, the Holy Spirit gives a warning along with an illustration to make His point. It is interesting that the is word for word the same as David uses in Psalm 95:7-11 and it is just as instructive today.
We know the story of the Israelites being in Egyptian bondage and how the Lord heard their cry from heaven, was concerned, and chose Moses as His tool to deliver them from the cruel heart and hand of Pharaoh. The Israelites were great recipients of the grace and mercy of God but instead of drawing near and trusting God, once out of Egypt and in the wilderness they became a stiff-necked, obstinate, rebellious people (Exodus 32:9). After all the Lord had did for the Israelites- all the signs and wonders, the every revelation of His love, power, provision, defense, and care, the Israelites did not trust His goodness and their unbelieving hearts caused them to be murmurers instead of worshipers.
As a result, God was angry and paid the wage their sin and rebellion demanded. The Israelites were judged and all but two of the original Israelites who left Egypt died in the wilderness. In verse 10, the Lord declared this to be an issue of their hearts, ‘always going astray. As a result, “they shall not enter my rest.”
Oh my, what a Word for a world, a nation, a people, a person who shakes their fist at God. He who has spiritual eyes can see hard hearts all around us today. The Lord warns in 2 Timothy 3:
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. 2 Timothy 3:1-5
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Oh Heavenly Father, thank You for Your loving warnings of grace and mercy. We pray for repentance in the hearts of the people, including our own. Search us, O God, and know our hearts! Try us and know our thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in us, and lead us in the way everlasting! In Jesus Name, Amen!
To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior