Looking for the earlier studies from Hebrews? Find them here: 1 – 2
Wherefore, HOLY brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. (verses 1, 2)
The ancient Greek word translated apostle essentially means ambassador. And so we see Jesus, the quintessential ambassador for a message so earth-shattering that it could be sent through no other than the Son of God. We are once again being pointed to this Apostle, or ambassador, and told to consider Him. Interestingly, the ancient Greek word translated consider is katanoein, which has meaning far greater than to notice or simply look at something. It means to harness your focus and attention on something so closely that you are able to absorb its meaning and message. To grab onto its innermost meaning. So this opening passage of the third chapter of Hebrews is a weighted one…
And from there we are given insight into exactly who He is that we are being admonished to consider:
For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that build all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after. But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. (verses 3-6)
Moses has historically been, and presently remains, held in high esteem. The ancient rabbis considered Moses to be, for all intents and purposes, the greatest man of all time. These verses offer perspective while gently putting the brakes on setting him up as an idol. Because while Moses was a faithful servant, it was Christ who built the house (church). And it’s Christ who is due the honor and glory of such.
Every intentional consideration, or meditation, on the greatness of Jesus will bring with it new confidence in His person and increased motivation to love. We will be imbued with greater wisdom and compelled toward obedience to a law given to save us.
Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) (verses 7-11)
Today if you will hear His voice, do not let your hearts be hardened. Today. Not tomorrow or next week or just as soon as you realize your life’s dream. Today. Hear His voice today and harden not your hearts.
Because the closing of the ears and the hardening of the heart; the casting aside of Jesus that you may walk in the ways of the world for a time, is a provocation against the mercy and long-suffering of a gracious God. He waits, patiently and with pity, but He will not wait forever. Our indifference grieves Him. Our distraction pierces Him. And yet while it is a hard thing for Him to execute His wrath, or judgement, on His own beloved children, we are told the hardened provocator will not enter His rest.
His mercy is great but His judgement is sure.
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. (verses 12, 13)
Did you catch that? Unbelief is not a condition of uncertainty, it is a sin. It is evil. And it’s a departure from the living God. Indifference is a choice, not a circumstance. We’ve been commissioned to call each other out of our slumber daily. That may look different for each person: some He may instruct you to proceed with the greatest caution and restraint, while another He may nudge you to appeal to their sleeping conscience, while with yet another He may ask that you shake them awake. We must respond to His call but also listen for His instruction in how to proceed.
The Holy Spirit, when invited, will be the faithful Guide and the sure Light. And when not invited, the absence thereof will be seen in the wreck we make of these exhortations. Because we cannot trust ourselves to speak on our own.
But don’t miss this two-fold message contained there. Because if we are to exhort one another it clearly means we are to surround ourselves with people who will exhort. Which means we must also be open to exhortation. This is to be a give and take relationship, rooted in the cause of Christ. What better friend can you have than one who leads you to Him who can sustain you?
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. (verses 14-19)
Again we see it, this bold proclamation regarding unbelief. It is not to be trifled with. The penalty of such a choice is death, just as it was for those sojourners from Egypt.
We cannot allow circumstance, pain, grief, financial strain, bereavement or discouragement to harden our hearts. We must resist this quicksand by clinging to the hem of His robe. Because we harden our own hearts in direct response to what life throws at us. It is a choice.
Perseverance in the faith takes repeated decision. It requires one to shove aside their feelings and to not be governed by the tidal wave of distraction. But the indescribable joy that comes through such a decision, the peace of walking in step with God, is enough.
It is absolutely enough.