Psalm for the Day

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

If you will hear…….

“That is why the Holy Spirit says,

“Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts
as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested me in the wilderness.

 There your ancestors tested and tried my patience, even though they saw my miracles for forty years.
So I was angry with them, and I said, ‘Their hearts always turn away from me.
They refuse to do what I tell them.’

 So in my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest.’”

 Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters.  Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God.   You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.   For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. Remember what it says:

“Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled.”  Hebrews 3:7-15 NLT

As we read Hebrews 3: 7 - 19, we have another of God's warnings to the unredeemed man who is on a sinful course to turn to Jesus Christ before it's too late.

So when we look at the book of Hebrews we must be reminded that it was written with three groups of people in mind.  Parts of it are directed right at new Christians, parts of it are directed to non-Christians who are not really accepting anything and parts of it are directed towards Christians who have intellectual understanding, who know the gospel and are sitting on the fence.

And this passage is one of those critical passages by which the Holy Spirit wants to give a great big supernatural shove to anyone hanging on the edge of faith in Jesus and has not yet committed himself to that faith.

There are many people who intellectually have responded to the gospel. They believe it but they have never committed themselves to that faith. They have never gone all the way to commitment to Jesus accepting Him as Savior and Lord, repenting from their sins and turning fully and wholeheartedly to Him.

May I add that to know the truth and not to accept it brings upon a man a worse judgment than to really not know it in full and not to accept it. God does not think you have done Him a favor just because you like His gospel.  In fact, if you hear it and you know it and intellectually assent to it but never commit your heart to it then the retribution and the judgment of God on you will be much worse, much more serious than that on those who have barely even heard of the gospel.  

The writer of Hebrews has a great fear for these Jews because they have heard the gospel. They heard it right from the mouths of the apostles and the prophets but because of the love of sin and because of the fear of persecution which is the sin of pride they shrink back. They would fall away from an initial profession in faith or an initial statement of confidence in Christ and begin to fall back.  Maybe they had run up and said, “you know, I like this thing about Jesus this is great.  I might give my life to this” and then they started getting harassed by their friends and they begin to fall away from the initial statement that they made.

They are never willing to throw their whole heart to Jesus and as a result of that they become what the Bible defines classically as an apostate.

You know what an apostate is?   An apostate is an individual knowing the truth willfully rejects it and falls back into a lifestyle of sin.

Today signifies the present time of grace for man as in the time of the Hebrews and in the time of Moses and of David.  

Notice that verse 15 says, "If you will hear".  Hearing God is a matter of your own will but as always there's that possibility of hardening your heart as Israel did and seeing the sad results.

He wants the professing Christians to last, to persevere. Because that's the only way they will prove they are truly God's people and truly share in Christ's salvation.

So God says look at Israel and do not be like them.

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