Dear Student of the Word,
I am currently in Uganda and finally had some time to edit the second installment of our study in Hebrews. In this part, the writer wrote about faith, disobedience and rest. The rest he wrote of was not a cessation of activities but a trust in God for salvation, life and provision. This week I wrote in part four of this seven-part study, which you can download below:
Part Two, Day Four
12 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. 15 As has just been said: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion."
3:12 – Faith is not a feeling. In this verse the writer commanded that no one have a “sinful, unbelieving heart.” That indicates that everyone can make the decision to have a holy, believing heart or an unbelieving one. What is the condition of your heart? When did your last faith testimony occur? If it occurred more than 12 months ago, why has it been so long? What are you believing the Lord for right now?
It would seem that rest and faith, rest and unbelief are connected in some way. Let’s read on to determine the connection.
3:13 – You need the encouragement of other believers on a daily basis or at least during the “today” to which the Holy Spirit is referring. A life of faith taxes your natural inclinations because things don’t happen according to your timetable or in a way that you can understand. A life of faith operates according to God’s plan and timing. Some people who have “gotten off the faith bus” because the journey was too long, bumpy or unpredictable. While good and holy people, they have decided the faith life involved too much pressure and they have subtly hardened their heart to any faith project.
3:14 – Someone once said that a walk with God is not a sprint but a marathon. here are those who start fast but fade. There is much talk about “finishing well” and that should be your goal. You must firmly hold your faith confidence from first to last. If you don’t, you are in danger of not entering the rest that God has for you.
It never requires less but rather more faith to make progress in the things of God. It is similar to raising a child. When they are babies, their parents need diaper faith. When they are older, the parents need faith for university tuition. The needs are greater, and so the faith to obtain them must be greater as well. You cannot have diaper faith and expect to receive university tuition.
3:15 – The rebellion mentioned in this verse is from Psalm 95, quoted for the second time in this chapter, and is a description of the events that occurred in Exodus 16 and 17. It was there that the people murmured against the Lord for what they perceived to be His lack of provision. They considered going back to Egypt because they did not like their living conditions and they did not trust the Lord for anything better. The people provoked the Lord and He threatened to let them die there had it not been for Moses’ intervention.
The rebellion here was an issue of faith in the hearts of the people. They had decided not to go on in faith, but rather to take matters into their own hands. Even though they had seen great things, they wearied and hardened their hearts. Have you seen God do great things for you, but are you in the same place? Are you tired of the faith journey, and considering turning back? The message to you is the same as it was to the original readers of this letter: Don't do it!
As always, I welcome your comments to this week's study. For additional Bible studies, check out my website archive, which contains a complete collection of all my verse-by-verse New Testament studies, along with the unpublished daily devotional entitled A Daily Taste of Proverbs. Thank you and I hope you continue to enjoy this study of Hebrews from God's word!