I've been reading through Hebrews with Don, John, and Bonnie over the last few months. This morning I found myself back in chapter three where the writer talks about the Israelites who had left Egypt by way of the parted Red Sea. They are now wandering around for 40 years just outside the Promise Land. God is waiting for them to die off before the next generation enters the land.
How could this happen? After God showed Himself to be God by the 10 plagues and subsequent departure from Egypt via a parted sea, the destroying of the Egyptians who pursued them, the sustaining by daily manna and quail, their clothing and shoes not wearing out while they wandered - YET, the writer of Hebrews quotes Psalm 95:
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."
"They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways."
The proof of our knowing God is our obedience. The Gospels clearly say that if we love the Lord we will obey his commands. Sometimes we sin like we really don't get it. Jesus says there is going to come a time when some will be telling God all they did for Him and He is going to say "Depart from me, I never knew you." To ensure we do not run that risk we need to take seriously our call which is to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus.
Sometimes life is going to defy logic. We need to keep returning to The Book during those times of confusion. If we decide to listen to our hearts and heads instead of to The Book we run the risk of going astray in our hearts like those who wandered in the desert. We run the risk of God saying, depart from me I never knew you."
The writer of Hebrews closes chapter three with this warning:
"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. As it is said,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief."
Consider this friends: disobedience is unbelief. It matters not to God if sometimes our lives defy logic, current trends, and philosophies. Every age has had to grapple with Truth. Let us commit to the hard work of wrestling with God over feelings, events, and circumstances. Then when the wrestling is over, commit to obedience.