“Today if you hear his voice do not harden your hearts, as you did in the rebellion.” (Hebrews 3:15)
I love my family. For God has taught me the most precious lessons with and through them.
Many years ago, our young son saw a non-smoking sign outside a supermarket. What he could not work out was why there were a good number of people puffing away on the cigarettes – totally oblivious to the warning sign!
So he asked me innocently: “Dad, is it because they cannot read?”, as if to say I could help them read and they would obey.
“No, no. They can read but they choose to ignore the warning,” I explained. My son was wide-eyed and flabbergasted. It was one his earliest childhood awakenings to the “world of hearing but not listening”.
Hebrews was written to a group of Jewish Christians who were hardening themselves to God because of the danger of persecution and prison (Hebrews 10:32ff).
The author wrote to warn them of a more life-threatening danger than their costly suffering for believing in Jesus Christ.
He warned them of the most extreme danger of apostasy or doing a U-turn on Jesus. Why? Jesus is God’s final revelation and redemption to save us from Satan and sin.
If we give up on Jesus, we do not merely jeopardise our temporal importance of interrupted studies, work or love. If we renege on Jesus, we jeopardise eternal life with God himself.
What about your hearing? Could you be brushing aside too lightly what God is so kindly and patiently saying to you through Jesus?
Please note that hearing is not an activity of our ears but of our hearts. So, we must never reject a “teachable heart moment” from God.
The Hebrew Christians were allowing their circumstances to drown out a teachable heart moment from God about their fear. That is why they were “shrinking back” from faith in Jesus.
What is your teachable heart moment from God?
Is God burdening your heart about a paralysing fear to overcome? A gnawing anger to surrender? An unhelpful romance to drop? A relationship to reconcile? A lust to confess? A pride to yield?
The writer quotes Psalm 95 to draw a parallel with Moses’ generation of Israelites. They hardened themselves to a God-given teachable heart moment and forfeited rest in the temporal paradise of Canaan.
If we harden our hearts to Jesus’ offer of salvation, we forfeit permanent rest with God.
May God cure not simply our hardness in hearing but, more so, our hardened hearts. Turn to Jesus. He is the most masterful cardiac surgeon.