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The Book of Hebrews

Chapter 3

Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.

So, as the Holy Spirit says:

“Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
    during the time of testing in the wilderness,
where your ancestors tested and tried me,
    though for forty years they saw what I did.
That is why I was angry with that generation;
    I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,
    and they have not known my ways.’
So I declared on oath in my anger,
    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”

See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. As has just been said:

“Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts
    as you did in the rebellion.”

Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

The writer picks up on the point made in your last key verse — Heb 2:3. This is the issue of unbelief. He seems anxious about the future of these Hebrew Christians. His reference to Psalm 95 implies that he is nervous about whether they too will find themselves in the same place as some of those Hebrews did.

You see, hundreds of years earlier, Moses led the Hebrews out of their slavery in Egypt, to take them to their own home that God had promised them. In Egypt they were slaves, but well fed and had an okay home. However, while crossing the desert, they began to doubt God’s ability to provide sustenance and that home He promised. They were trusting in the limitations of their experience with the material world. Those who continued to believe went on to enter the homeland God had always promised, while those who stopped believing never did—their hearts were hardened, and so they grew old and died in the desert. This back and forth relationship with God throughout Israel’s journey is chronicled throughout the Old Testament. It reads like a one-sided romance. The writer to the Hebrews is saying: Look you don’t want to end up there again.

Verse 13 is critical because here the writer is acknowledging the power and reality of sin and how we are oftentimes deceived by its alluring, self-pleasing attributes. Acutely aware that at any given moment in our lives we can lose faith, He says: “Encourage each other daily! While you have time so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Wow! Do we really need it as often as we take a shower? Likely.

Question to ponder:

  • How are you ensuring that you receive daily encouragement from others so that doubt does not set in or stay?
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