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Do not harden your hearts

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 ancestors tested me, tried me,

and saw my works. Hebrews 3:7-9 CSB

At the end of the previous section, the author warned the church to not stray away from following Jesus. To reinforce this warning, the author quotes from Psalm 95:7b-9: “Today, if you hear his voice: Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah in the wilderness where your ancestors tested me; they tried me, though they had seen what I did.” In the temple ritual and in the synagogue worship services, the use of Psalm 95 was well established. Psalm 95 was known as the psalm of invitation to worship. This Psalm was attributed to the Holy Spirit and not the Psalmist and this establishes the fact that the Word of God is divinely inspired. Though David wrote the Psalm but he was under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit like the other writers of the Scriptures. God through the Holy Spirit is the one addressing the Israelites. God still speaks to us today through His Word. The passage refers to Exodus 17:1-7, in which the Israelites questioned the Lord. They were looking for water and became impatient, even going so far as to question God’s leading them out of Egypt seen in verse 3, “Why, now, have you brought us up from Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” Moses went to the Lord, to which the Lord told Moses to strike the rock at Horeb, which will then lead to water pouring forth, providing water for the Israelites. Afterwards, Moses named the place in verse 7, “Massah and Meribah because of the quarrel of the sons of Israel, and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us, or not?” So, with this in mind, the author of Hebrews recognizes that the Holy Spirit was using individuals to speak these words as a warning to the current and future audiences of this letter. The Israelites complained and questioned God, even thinking that His end plan for them was to kill them all with thirst. Yet, God proved them all wrong. He could have abandoned them as they abandoned Him, and yet, He was gracious, providing them water through miraculous means, in which none of the Israelites could have thought of as a solution to their need. With this in mind, believers are told to not harden their hearts, rebelling against God. Instead, they should just be committed to the Lord, not even getting to the point of testing God like the Israelites. We should not be turning our deaf ears toward God but instead we should listen attentively to His voice. Ignoring God’s Word is an act of rebellion. And God does not take this lightly. “Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the friend of the world becomes the enemy of God” (James 4:4). When God speaks to you through His Word, listen to what He has to say to you.


Isaac De Guzman


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