“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ””
Hebrews 3:7-11 NKJV
Hear His voice
There is a cacophony of voices filling the atmosphere of this world, as many cry out into the open square seeking the attention of those passing through. There are voices that seek to lead the naive to folly, and voices that seek to draw the unaware to destruction. Then there is the voice of one crying in the wilderness, crying out for the saving of souls, and presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
There are also the voices of many bible preaching pastors, exhorting and proclaiming to their congregations the glories of God. They preach the words of life, but all to often those words, so inspired, bounce off stoney hearts whose allegiance is to the world, the flesh and the devil.
The Holy Spirit still calls.
I was reminded of all this, as I read the passage in Hebrews, the writer, possibly Paul, reminds his readers of those who came before us. They had the distinction of having God with them, yet they still had hard hearts, bent on disobedience. Because of this they fell in the wilderness.
The children of Israel had sent out spies into the promised land, and ten came back with negative reports, but two, Joshua and Caleb, had faith in their God and brought the promise of blessing. The people heeded the ten.
“because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it. But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it.”
Numbers 14:22-24 NKJV
The children of Israel had the benefit of seeing God work, which was great advantage indeed, but we, who are born again, have the advantage of God in us, as the Holy Spirit speaks to us from within, using the word of God. Because of this we have no excuse.
Because the Lord has given us His word and His Spirit, we have constant guide, if we are willing to listen. He has given us the power to be inoculated against the cacophony of voice vying for our attention. Daily, we have the choice to heed, or ignore, and consequences and blessings dependent upon those choices.
Brothers and sisters, let us hear the voice of God. Like the children of Israel, offered the promised land, the rest, we to have a rest. It is the place of peace and restoration, knowing that the Lord is in control. It is the peace in the midst of trouble, when we fear not for we know our God is with us.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.”
Psalms 23:1-6 NKJV
The coming days, weeks, months and perhaps years will be filled with turmoil, and we will have nothing but the Lord to rely on. We will be outcasts without ally, but we will not be abandoned.
Hear His voice today, poring over His word, soaking it up, and doing what it says. We are going to need the rest of God to get through all that is to come.
There is another rest coming: the one where we move from this world to the next. That rest will be eternal, and it will involve body and soul. I look forward to that rest, and rejoice with each passing day, because I know that either by death, rapture or martyrdom, I will enter it.
Let us all look to that rest.
“Beware, 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 “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.””
Hebrews 3:12-15 NKJV
If you are one who heart has been hardened by the world, and the words of the preacher in pulpit bounce off, pray that the Lord give you a soft heart, even a new heart. There is great danger that awaits those who sit in church, unmoved, unconverted, so close to salvation, but far too close to hell.
“For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”
Hebrews 3:16-19 NKJV
There is great joy in the rest, for there is peace that infuses every aspect of life. I tell you the truth, my life is difficult, but I stand because of Jesus and the hope to come.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
Romans 8:18 NKJV
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