Sunday, 16 September 2018
…while it is said:
“Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” Hebrews 3:15
It can be seen from these words that verse 14 is actually a parenthetical and explanatory thought. Taken together and placing parenthesis around it will show this –
“…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,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.’”
The author again cites Psalm 95, and his focus is once again on “Today.” The call is made, and it is one which requires a response. Through the psalmist, the Lord is looking back to the events of the past and showing what the results of the hardening of the heart through unbelief will be. He then sets a new day, based on those words, calling it Today. On that day, whatever day it is, and even unto the consummation of the event, the onus is on those appealed to, meaning the Hebrews, to not harden their hearts.
The Lord spoke to Israel and they rebelled, temping and testing Him. Christ now speaks again Today. The gospel has been proclaimed, and it must be responded to in order for Israel to enter their rest. Again, this is not to be applied individually. The words “you” and “your” are plural. It is true that salvation is something that occurs to individuals, and each who is saved is assured God’s rest, but that is not what is being spoken of here. Rather, it is speaking not of an individual rest, but of corporate rest for Israel.
This is certain because of verse 4:3 which speaks of those who have believed as entering into their rest. Each individual is a part of the whole. Out of all of the people who were 20 and above who came out of Egypt, who was it that entered Canaan? Only Joshua and Caleb. But even those who were younger, and who went in with them, did not enter God’s rest. This will be explained in Chapter 4 as well.
Life application: Chapter 4 will speak of the seventh day after creation, the day of God’s rest. This is the day which is anticipated for God’s people, a time of rest from their labors. It is a time where the ideal of Eden is realized. That ideal is man living in harmony with the Lord. For those who are looking forward to that, there is one way for it to come about, which is by faith. The unbeliever will have no part of God’s rest. What happened to Israel in the wilderness was given as a warning to people now. Believe God, and enter His rest. As God’s provision is in Christ, then we are to believe in Christ. In that belief, we enter God’s rest. When Israel believes in this provision, they will enter into the millennium, the seventh day of rest.
Lord God, Your word says that at some point, Christ will return and set up a thousand-year kingdom on earth; but before that day comes, there will be times of immense disaster and cataclysmic destruction on earth. This self-inflicted wound will come because we – as a species – simply fail to believe. For those who have trusted Christ, the promises of salvation are assured. For those who have not, bad times lie ahead. Help us to get this word out so that many may believe and be saved. Amen.