Saturday, 8 September 2018
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:
“Today, if you will hear His voice, Hebrews 3:7
The word “Therefore” is asking us to consider what has been put forth so far. Christ has been presented as greater than Moses who was faithful in the house of God as a servant within the house, meaning those of the Old Covenant. Christ is over the house as a Son, meaning those of the New Covenant. The implication is that the covenant Jesus has established is superior to the covenant given at Sinai, because Christ, the Lord, gave both covenants, and the second is administered by Him personally. The author is addressing the Hebrews who might be considering a return to Moses, rather than accepting the provision of the New Covenant, but that would be a step down and back to a lesser. It would be a rejection of the greater covenant brought forth by God in Christ.
Because of these things, the author then adds in several verses which are considered parenthetical. The word “Therefore” is actually tied to the word “Beware” which is given in verse 3:12 – “Therefore … Beware.” With this understanding, the author begins his parenthetical thought with, “as the Holy Spirit says.” He will next cite Scripture, meaning that the words are inspired by the Holy Spirit. What he cites comes from Psalm 95. This quote here is the last line of Psalm 95:7 –
The English translation generally gives an incorrect sense of what is being said in the Greek. “Today” signifies the present. This word will be presented several times in the verses and chapters ahead. When it is, it is normally translated with a capital T, even when it is cited apart from the verse. The capitalization is a highlight on the thought of Today as being whatever moment is being referred to.
The psalm is speaking of the rejection of the Lord in the wilderness wanderings, even before entering Canaan. It is written by David (see Hebrews 4:7) many generations later – Today. The author of Hebrews is quoting the Psalm at the time of Christ – Today. The epistle is directed to the Jews of the end times (after the epistles of Paul) – Today. One must understand the importance of Today in Hebrews to grasp what is being said to the Jewish audience, understanding that it is especially addressed to them.
The author then completes the verse with, “if you will hear His voice.” The words make one think of “If you are willing to hear His voice.” This is not the intent. Rather, it is an imperative – “Oh! That you would hear His voice today.” This can be taken in one of two ways, either, “obey His voice,” or “pay attention to His voice in what will continue to be said in the words of the Psalm.” Either way, it is asking for the reader to be mindful of the word of the Lord. Albert Barnes notes what this actually signifies in a full sense –
“His voice – The voice of God is speaking to us:
(1) in his written word;
(2) in the preached gospel;
(3) in our own consciences;
(4) in the events of his Providence;
(5) in the admonitions of our relatives and friends. Whatever conveys to us the truth of God, or is adapted to impress that on us, may be regarded as ‘his voice’ speaking to us. He thus speaks to us ‘”every day’ in some of these ways; and every day, therefore, he may entreat us not to harden our hearts.”
Life application: Today is the day. Paul says that Today is the day of salvation. This is true any day it is Today for the one who does not yet know the Lord. Today is also the day for the believer to present the good news to the unbeliever. Today is all we have. Yesterday cannot be reclaimed, and Tomorrow is a mere hope which may never come. Today we are to be about the Lord’s business before Today is no more and our chance has passed for conducting the work of Today.
Lord God, Your word speaks of Today as being the day. We have no chance of returning to Yesterday to correct deficiencies, to right our wrongs, or to make up for what was left undone. We also have nothing in Tomorrow, except a hope which may never come to pass. Today is what You have given to us to do what is proper and honoring of You. And so help us to use Today wisely, knowing that this day which we possess is destined to end. May we use Today to Your glory. Amen.