Hebrews 3:7-11 NKJV
“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:
“ Today, if you will hear His voice,
8 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
In the day of trial in the wilderness,
9 Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me,
And saw My works forty years.
10 Therefore I was angry with that generation,
And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart,
And they have not known My ways.’
11 So I swore in My wrath,
‘ They shall not enter My rest.’””
The Israelites were surrounded by a pagan world. A world controlled by pawns in the hand of Satan; a world that worshiped demonic powers set up as attractive deities. The first four thousand years of history consisted of societies led by fear and warfare.
My post-modern mind is unable to wrap around the horrors of the ancient world. The worst tragedies of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries were commonplace throughout antiquity. So, why, how, could
Why did they turn to the macabre? When I open up a work of pagan literature, I find them filled with disgusting stories and wars to no end. But, when I open the Old Testament, I find a breath of fresh air, a different way of handling everything in the ancient world. The squalor of pagan literature gives such contrasting beauty and significance to Scripture.
Why, how, could
This morning I opened my Bible to Hebrews 3 and read the passage above. The following verses grabbed my attention:
“12 [Therefore beware] brethren, take care, lest there be in any one of you a wicked, unbelieving heart [which refuses to cleave to, trust in, and rely on Him], leading you to turn away and desert or stand aloof from the living God.”
I live in a society that rejects God every day and yet enjoys the inherited blessings of Christendom. Whenever an humanist goes to a hospital, or an atheist enjoys an orchestral performance, they are participating in Christianity’s influence. I live in the wealthiest, greatest nation on earth, which is only what it has been because of the Christian world, and yet I take all my resources for granted. I attribute technology, books, comfort, and music to the advances of the modern world without stopping to understand that every good thing is from God. I am a Christian living in a Christianized world and am no better than the atheist.
Lately, I’ve been especially guilty of “standing aloof from the living God.” I spend hours reading blogs, and I don’t spend time with my Lord. I struggle with emotional purity and lust, when I have been offered such a beautiful and fulfilling relationship with my Savior. Accepting His good gifts, I thank everyone but Him.
“13 But instead warn (admonish, urge, and encourage) one another every day, as long as it is called Today, that none of you may be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [by the fraudulence, the stratagem, the trickery which the delusive glamor of his sin may play on him].
14 For we have become fellows with Christ (the Messiah) and share in all He has for us, if only we hold our first newborn confidence and original assured expectation [in virtue of which we are believers] firm and unshaken to the end.
15 Then while it is [still] called Today, if you would hear His voice and when you hear it, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion [in the desert, when the people provoked and irritated and embittered God against them].” (Amplified Bible)
I squander that precious thing called time. “While it is called Today,” I must be at battle, continuing to share Christ in the world that He conquered. Holding on to the “original assured expectation” that Christ will continue to overcome and He has called me to help.
Am I any better than the adulterous Israelites? No, but I do have the joy of being born in a world overcome by Christ. I have the blessing of walking in the legacy and lessons of 2,000 years of Christendom. And, I have the hope that in the end we win. No more rebellion, no more horror~only Christ, only peace.