27th September 2022
Read (Hebrews 3v7-19)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
The Old Testament is not a random collection of fantastic stories useful only for Sunday school colouring-in pages. The Old Testament is the story of the church of Christ from the beginning of time to the four hundred years of silence between Malachi and the Gospels. Paul tells us elsewhere that the events of the Old Testament "took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did." (1 Corinthians 10v6)
So in light of the Apostle telling us that we are to constantly consider Jesus, in these verses he warns us to be on guard against a hardening of our heart. To give this warning, the Apostle quotes from Psalm 95 which tells the story of the rebellion in the wilderness. The Lord had brought His people out of Egypt but instead of praise they responded with contempt. They grumbled against God. They complained about the wilderness. They moaned about the food that the Lord had provided. They even suggested that slavery in Egypt would be better than freedom under God.
In response the Lord swore in His righteous angry that "they shall not enter my rest." (v11). Indeed that same generation would not set foot in the land of promise and even their leader Moses would only gaze towards the land of Judah. What should we make of this example? Paul sees it as a warning to guard against evil and unbelieving hearts which will cause us to fall away from God (v12).
Now, let's be clear, the true believer can never slip from Christ's fingers. Their sins have been paid for and their justification will not be removed. Nevertheless we are to watch our hearts and pay attention to the condition of our soul. We are to exhort one another in this manner each and every day (v13). When was the last time you asked a fellow Christian "How is your soul?" When was the last time a fellow Christian asked you "Have you repented today?"
These conversations might be hard to imagine but we would do well to start having them. What is the danger? Sinful, hard, grumbling, ungrateful hearts are a sign of a sick soul in need of Gospel medicine. The Israelites in the wilderness forgot how God had saved them and their deceitful hearts led to them falling in the wilderness (v17). They did not enter the land of promise due to their unbelief (v19).
So my brothers and sisters I urge you to respond to this devotion by evaluating the condition of your soul. Are you dwelling in unconfessed sin? Is your heart hard and unforgiving towards a fellow Christian? Are you bored with the things of God? Is your heart grateful or is it marked by arrogance? Only you can answer these questions truthfully. But if you see any warning signs then I urge you to flee to Christ and drink deeply from the well of truth.
The Christian life is marked by an assurance of our salvation through faith in Christ but it should also be a watchful life. Our enemy is like a lion looking for someone to devour and so fellow Christian I urge you to walk with wisdom in the wilderness of this world. Keep a good watch on yourself and hold your original confidence firm to the end. “Today, if you hear his voice,do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
Help us Lord Jesus we pray! Amen.
Q63 Which is the fifth commandment? The fifth commandment is, Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.