Do not harden your heart

That is why the Holy Spirit says, “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested me in the wilderness. There your ancestors tested and tried my patience, even though they saw my miracles for forty years. So I was angry with them, and I said, ‘Their hearts always turn away from me. They refuse to do what I tell them.’ So in my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest.’” Hebrews 3:7-11 NLT


From the text, the writer of the book of Hebrews was quoting Psalm 95:7b-11 in comparing the experience of believers with the disobedience of the Israelites. It is important that this reminder be given so that believers will learn from the past experiences of those who profess faith in God. The Israelites did not trust God and decided to not follow God’s command for them to proceed and enter the Promised Land. Instead, they allowed their fear to overcome their decision. The writer of Hebrews reminded the readers that the message being conveyed is under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, what was being pronounced should not be taken lightly for it was given through divine authority. He wanted the readers to realize that they can fall to the same sin that the Israelites committed that angered God. The Israelites hardened their hearts by not listening to God. This was why God was angry. God was patient that it took forty years before God pronounced His judgment. God’s anger is not like the human anger. God’s anger is always based on a just cause. In this case, the Israelites kept on rebelling from God’s commands. They kept on rejecting God’s offer of love. They strayed from God’s will and followed their own way. They ignored God and trusted their own abilities not realizing that their own strength will not amount to much. They can enter the Promised Land trusting the power of God. They did not believe God’s Word. Those who profess their faith but will not follow through with their actions of trust and commitment to God can fall into the same pattern of unbelief. The warning has been given, “don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested me in the wilderness.” Those who will not heed the warning, God says, they “will never enter my place of rest.” Do not remain in your foolish disobedience before it is too late. Do not harden your heart, instead let your heart be filled with tenderness by faithfully following God and His Word.


Blessings,


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