Hebrews 3:7–15 (NKJV)
The writer of Hebrews has just touted the value of being part of the house of Christ, the elder brother of the faithful and Son of God. Make sure your allegiance and presence resides with Jesus in order to be saved. In this passage, the author moves to a discussion of the need for faithfulness to His house in light of the challenges of the day.
7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:
“Today, if you will hear His voice,Hebrews 3:7-11
8 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
In the day of trial in the wilderness,
9 Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me,
And saw My works forty years.
10 Therefore I was angry with that generation,
And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart,
And they have not known My ways.’
11 So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ”
The author quotes Psalm 97:7-11 here, admonishing the people of God to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit warning them not to harden their hearts. In a world fraught with individualism and self-determination, people can begin to feel as though God is not sovereign or even relevant to their decision-making process. The Israelites rebelled against God’s leadership and commands in the wilderness, testing God and not believing in His power to give them the promised land. This act of unbelief and their many acts of rebellion led to the original Israelites, excluding a few faithful individuals, dying in the wilderness, never living in the very land they were promised by Yahweh. They wandered for forty years, seeing the great miracles of God on all sides, yet did not enter into His rest. This was a sad conclusion to lives that saw slavery, forced labor, deliverance, a parted sea, and the devastation of the enemy’s armies, just to name a few of their experiences. I pray you do not ignore the commands of God or doubt the efficacy of His promises. He is God, and is to be praised, worshipped, and obeyed.
12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 15 while it is said:
“Today, if you will hear His voice,Hebrews 3:12-15
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
The writer then turns his attention back to those who would read this letter. He warns against unbelief, having cited the example of the Israelites under Moses’ leadership. An evil heart doubts the word of God. Our living God is to be trusted without question. If anyone among you has any doubt, exhort that individual daily, that in the “Today” of your life, there will be no hardening of your heart through the lies and deceitful sin of this world and the devil that roams in it. Keep one another on track. Encourage and instruct those weaker in the faith to be strong. If you have been saved and partaken of the grace of God through Christ, hold on to what you have. Be confident and strong in what God has promised. Another passage of Scripture promises that if you endure to the end, you will be saved. This passage gives that same indication, perhaps from the negative side of things. If you harden your heart and ignore the commands of God, you will not enter the rest of God designed for His children. Learn a lesson from the Israelites in the wilderness. Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion. Instead be faithful every day that is called “today.”