Hebrews 3: 7-15
“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, 8 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, 9 Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years. 10 Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.’ 11 So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ 12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 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.'”
Last week, Jesus was our Ambassador from God; He told us of the new world that God has for us. The new world is not new to God, but it will be new to us. Jesus also faithfully told us the truth about both Heaven and Hell. His descriptions of Hell were quite graphic and real scary, to be honest, and designed to help us not want to be there. Sadly, there are many in this world who still choose Hell over Heaven every day. This is the dark side of free will. Today we will be called to be open to the leadership of the Holy Spirit based on the faithful leadership of Jesus.
- Rebellion, verses 7-10
God hates rebellion, and even more so when He has clearly demonstrated His hands-on involvement in our lives. There are times when things happen in our lives, and we can ask questions as to the source of the solutions, but when God has explicitly extended Himself as He did with Jesus to us and the whole world, we are without excuse when we rebel. The writer of Hebrews uses the nation of Israel in the wilderness and their open and, at times, scornful rebellion against God. They took that hatred out on Moses, but they really were acting against God. There are two times in particular, once in Exodus 17: 1-7.
“Then all the congregation of the children of Israel set out on their journey from the Wilderness of Sin, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped in Rephidim; but there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people contended with Moses, and said, ‘Give us water, that we may drink.’ So, Moses said to them, ‘Why do you contend with me? Why do you tempt the Lord?’ And the people thirsted there for water, and the people complained against Moses, and said, ‘Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?’ So Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, ‘What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me!’
“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also, take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.’ And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. So he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the contention of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, ‘Is the Lord among us or not?'”
These folks accused Moses, but really God, of bringing them out to the wilderness to kill them. God had revealed Himself in a mighty way to deliver them from Egypt. He had decimated the Egyptian kingdom, killed off their armies, and destroyed their livelihoods, all the while preserving the Israelite people. And they had the audacity to accuse God of wanting them dead. This was the height of rebellion; this was matched in intensity only at the entrance to the Promised Land. Start reading in Numbers 13:30 and on. Once again, they accused God of wanting them destroyed; they implied God had hoodwinked them into the Promised Land to be killed.
When we hear the Gospel and see the accounts of Jesus being real even from non-religious sources and know that there is no doubt that Jesus changed the whole world with His words, His teaching and His death, burial and resurrection, and then accuse God of not loving us, or worse, not even existing, is rebellion. But as children of God, we can be just as rebellious when we, having put our faith in Jesus to save us, now think that He is against us and trying to do us in. We, like the Jews, can accuse God of horrible things; I have, and I am sure you have as well.
- No Rest verses 11-12
Jesus came to bring us rest. No, not to put us to sleep but to bring us rest from the struggles and worries of life. Jesus promised us this in Matthew 11: 29-30.
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Life in Jesus is rested upon His power, His ability to see tomorrow, His promises, and His great faithfulness. He has proven that He is on our side. Romans 8 reminds us that NOTHING can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. While we will go through some struggles and some harsh times, even disease and some persecution, we can, or rather we should never, accuse Jesus of hating us or not being there for us. In fact, we are told in Hebrew 4: 14-16 that He is there to help us. He went through all He did so that He can be a source of hope, a source of help in our troubled times.
When we rebelliously defy God as His children, we find that God takes away the rest we have in Him; life is uncertain, and the loving presence of Heavenly Dad is not felt. We find that our prayers don’t seem to be heard, and life can become one continuous circle of failure.
Yes, this is about God’s people. You will not go to Hell if you are a child of God, but life on earth can feel that way until you get to heaven.
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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