We church people read about the Children of Israel with hindsight and know the amazing
miracles that they witnessed and I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe how many times that they doubted God. How many of us have said with judgment in our thoughts that having seen what they saw, we would never be like them? However, we have the entire council of God in our hands and yet we too go about our daily lives without concern for the will or thoughts of God in our mind. Just because we aren’t wandering in a desert looking for water, doesn’t mean that we are to be any less dependent upon him for our livelihood and well being. We think we live by faith, but how many of us are actually more concerned about how we are going to meet our next bill? And rather than turn to our God for help, we turn to Visa or Master Card instead. In reality, Aren’t we just as bad as they who died in the wilderness for their disobedience?
Warning Against Unbelief
7 So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, 8do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, 9 where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did. 10That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,
and they have not known my ways.’ 11So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”
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. , (we are our brothers keepers, unlike what Cain said after he killed Abel we have responsibility for each other)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.”
16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? (they were the ones who saw the plagues and miracles – italics mine)17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? 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.
Who are you Lord?
I AM the same God today that I was in Moses’ day. Even though I work differently among humanity than I did back then, I have intentionally made my relationships with man to be one of faith. This is why life seems to be hard for you. In order for me to live and walk with you and work on your behalf, you need to value my presence and believe by relying on me. Back then they showed their faith by following my commands, but now you show your faith by receiving my grace and allowing my Spirit to work out my life in yours. I don’t need man per se so as to serve me, as humans have needs, but rather I want a relationship with you as my children. I want to share myself with mankind but only if you would have me. I will not force myself on anyone.
I AM the God who speaks with Man
I AM the God who speaks with man. I want to talk with you particularly – daily. I want to share my life with you. This is why I made you. I want you to know my ways, so that you can trust me. I AM the living God who hears and sees you where you are at. I know your comings and goings. I know your heart, your thoughts and actions. I see what you value most, and when that is not me. “Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come in and sup with him, and he with me.”
The children of Israel wandered through the desert until they learned to live by faith,
then they were allowed into the Promised Land. You will wander through the desert of this life on earth until you learn the secret of faith in my provision for you before you can enter my heaven. The reasons for trials is so that you realize how much you need me and can rely on me, I am worthy of your trust. I desire to show myself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are steadfast upon my grace. Bottom line: Everyone could be a Christian – if life were easy. But when things hit the fan, many will fall away, they always have. Would you also go away? The apostle Peter understood the importance in this question and replied “Lord, to whom else can we go, you have the words of eternal life.” I am your life, how dear am I to you? “Lovest thou me more than these?”
What is God telling you to do today? Is there something that you are procrastinating to do which God has said? Those who hear God’s voice, like the ones who saw all which He did for them, in Egypt, but in their neglect of him went about their own business, are the ones whom he calls unbelievers in this passage; not the Egyptians, or Canaanites, rather those within the camp. I might add, not responding to his voice is the act of hardening your heart and rebellion. This is the evidence of what unbelief is – not acting on what you know to be true. Not treating God with the due reverence and obedience which He desires from those he loves and calls to be his children.
Hearing God’s voice
If you hear his voice speak through God’s Word by his Holy Spirit, hold firmly to it, live life accordingly and encourage others to live accordingly too. Hearing and acting on God’s voice will help keep you from becoming hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. It will also keep us from falling into the trap of academic ritualism. Protecting your faith and Spirit from the influences that creep in from this world should be our first priority. Do not let your heart become hardened, which happens when we do nothing to foster our relationship with him. As with any material, hardening takes a long time, particularly copper which needs to be annealed with heat and then quenched in water to become soft again. God is faithful to bring on the heat as necessary. Joints get stiff when they are not used. Hearts turn to stone. In the case with copper, it takes the heat of trials and the sudden quenching of His Spirit will soften you up again.
Real Christianity has God’s ear
As God knows that he has your ear and that you act on his whisperings, God will keep talking to you for his glory and the church will also benefit. All those around you will know that God is real in your life and worthy of continued obedience. This is when Christianity becomes real. When God becomes real to us, then He becomes real through us to those around us. Like when the children of Israel were ready to take the Promised Land. Fear swept the land before them because of their God.
More to come, Steve