Hebrews 3:12–19 Weekly devotion for 3/28 by Mick Scott
Joe Mauer was the very first draft pick in the 2001 Major League Baseball draft. Drafted just 5 spots behind him at #6 was another young player, both with dreams of a Major League career. They both had all the ‘tools’ to be big league players; they could field, hit and run. Joe was drafted right out of high school and was a sponge in his first couple years of minor league ball listening to everything his coaches told him and trusting that they knew what was best for his budding career. While the other young man was a star on a champion college team who hit the minor leagues already knowing more than the coaches and thus not trusting or obeying the counsel they had for him. Joe Mauer went on to have a Hall of Fame type career with the Minnesota Twins; the other guy… well he never made it to the Major Leagues. Both had plenty of raw talent but only one trusted and obeyed the wisdom of his coaches and thus received the blessing that trust provided. (I)
Heb. 3:12 See to it, brothers and sisters, 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 indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. 15 As has just been said:
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion.” (II)
16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.
In the first couple chapters of Hebrews the author has been working to show that Jesus is supreme over Angels and Moses. Now, he strives to impress upon his readers that if Jesus is so uniquely supreme, then complete trust and obedience should be given to him. If they don’t give him obedient trust, if they harden their hearts, there will be consequences to their actions.
The writer of Hebrews quotes Psalms 95:7, which appeals to those who read it that if they hear God’s voice “to not harden their hearts” as they did in the rebellion. This is in reference to Numbers 20:1-13 which is the recounting of an incident in the pilgrimage of Israel in the desert. They were thirsty and rebelled against Moses, crying out that they wished they had never left Egypt and giving up their trust in God. God told Moses to speak to the rock and water would come flowing out but in anger Moses struck the rock instead of speaking to it and water did flow out but for his lack of obedience God declared that Moses would never enter the promised land. For their lack of trust the people of Israel never entered either and wandered for 40 years. What the writer of Hebrews is pointing at is that the disobedience and lack of trust of Israel kept them from the blessings God had for them to enjoy.
The writer to the Hebrews says to his people, “Beware you don’t show the same disobedience and distrust of God that your forefathers showed, and that you don’t for that reason lose the blessings you might have had, just as they lost theirs.” In effect he says, “While there is yet time, while you can still speak of ‘today’ give God your trust and obedience.” For the individual, “today” means “while life lasts” and the writer to the Hebrews is saying, “While you have the chance, give God the obedience you ought to give. Give it to him before your day closes.” There are certain great warnings here.
(1) God makes men an offer. Just as he offered the Israelites the blessings of the Promised Land, he offers to all believers the blessings of a life which is far beyond the life that they can live without him.
(2) But to obtain the blessings of God two things are necessary. (a) Trust is necessary. We must believe that what God says is true. We must be willing to stake our lives on his promises. (b) Obedience is necessary. It is just as if a doctor were to say to us: “I can cure you if you obey my instructions.” In any way you look at life, success depends on obedience to the word of the expert: God.
(3) To the offer of God there is a limit. That limit is the duration of life. We never know when that limit will be reached. We speak about “tomorrow” but for us tomorrow may never come. All we have is today. Barclay has said: “We should live each day as if it were a lifetime. God’s offer must be accepted today; the trust and the obedience must be given today, or it may be too late -for we cannot be sure that there will be a tomorrow for us.” (III)
“When we walk with the Lord
In the Light of His word
What a glory He sheds on our way
While we do His good will
He abides with us still
And with all who will trust and obey
Trust and Obey
For there is no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey.” (IV)
I: Wikipidea 2001 Major League Draft
II: Ps 95:7-8
III: Wm Barclay Study Bible
IV: “Trust and Obey” 1887; John Henry Sammis