Hebrews 3:1-14 Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope. Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.’ As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest.'” Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.
The hardening of your heart can happen in an instant, as a result of a thought of pride or offense – pride in superior thinking and offense at someone else’s derogatory words. In my previous blog I pointed out how our hearts become hardened when we are not regarded by others, because we believe in our right to address people’s mistakes openly and harshly correct them when they stray. We often times believe it to be our God-given calling to “fix” what we consider to be faulty in others, and more often than not those well meant verbal bashings are not well received by the other person. I, then, went on to say that the Love of God, in your heart, will never allow you to “fix” people. Hebrews warns us to be weary of developing an unbelieving heart, and goes on to give an antidote, or rather a method of prevention, in exhorting one another. This idea of uplifting and encouraging one another struck me as the epitome of love and expression of the Father’s heart for each of us.
While they were traveling through the wilderness, God became frustrated with the children of Israel because they strayed from His ways. His desire for them was to be well and inherit the land He swore they would have. In Numbers 14 God tells Moses that the people will not get what they desire because they fail to heed His words and they do not believe in Him. We sometimes think ‘ If I don’t obey the Bible and do what the pastor preached on Sunday I will be punished, I will not get what I’m praying for and bad things will happen to me and my family’. A thought pattern develops which suggests that we need to perform for it to go well with us, instead of knowing it will be well with us because He loves us and we believe in this love, we trust this love and rest in it. The concept of do to get is not what the Father was implying in the desert. In the wilderness, as the people were complaining and grumbling, they looked to another and started questioning the leadership, they started finding faults with Moses, and at some point wanted to stone him and elect another leader that would do as they wanted, get some results and go back to Egypt. Because they were not seeing the results of what they wanted from God as quickly as they wanted and how they wanted, their first option was to return to captivity and oppression. Blaming someone in charge was a lot easier than trusting the Word of God.
God’s biggest satisfaction comes when we believe in Him, and in what He says. When we operate the way He does, following His ways. What are His ways? His ways are good and lovely. He thinks and constantly says good and lovely things over your life and about you. It is when we fail to believe He is sovereign and that He has accomplished the good work in us that we do not please Him, when we lack the faith to believe what He says about His children to be true. The children of Israel failed to receive and believe what God was commanding and to have faith for His promises. They started complaining and grumbling among themselves, thinking of everything they didn’t have, and all the ways Moses and God were failing them. Despite all the signs God has shown them they still didn’t believe. Until today, this remains the pitfall for most of us- doubting what He has to say about us. This is what grieves His heart- our doubt. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Our flesh so often wants to remind us of what we have done in the past as a means to inform us of who we are, in direct contrast of what He is saying about us. We are not our past; we are not the things we have done, bad or good. We are what God says we are. His love is eternal and unchanging. It never falters. He loved us before we loved Him and chose to give us His Son so we could live the life He set out for us, one of peace and Kingdom living. He is constantly singing over us with joy and delight; speaking words of love to our hearts (Zeph 3:17). It is usually when exposed to the love of God that our flesh rebels and our fleshly ideas of who we are undermines our true identity. It opposes the good nature that He has placed in us. I want to point out to you that if you are saved then you are indeed worthy and good enough. Nothing can separate you from the love of God! If you believe He is God, that He reigns supreme and that He is sovereign, your challenge, today, is to accept and believe every single good thing He has to say about you.
Psalm 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
Psalm 119:10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!
Psalm 119:11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Today, when you hear His voice, when you are reminded of His promises, do not harden your heart, do not look for reasons why God is not going to come through for you. He is not a man that He should lie! He has got you! He loves you, you are beautifully and fearfully and wonderfully made in His image! Created for good works and a good life. You can overcome. You are strong.You are loved. You are known.
Romans 5:5 …and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.