Sunday, February 19, 2017

HEBREWS 3:7-11

Don't let your love grow cold.

"Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says,
'Today if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me,
As in the day of trial in the wilderness,
Where your fathers tried Me by testing Me,
And saw My works for forty years.
Therefore I was angry with this generation,
And said, 'They always go astray in their hearts,
And they did not know My ways;
As I swore in My wrath,
'They shall not enter My rest.'"

The Holy Spirit said it.

"These words are quoted from Psalm 95:7; and as they were written by David, and attributed here to the Holy Ghost, it proves that David wrote by the inspiration of God's Holy Spirit."  (Adam Clarke)  "As the Holy Ghost saith; as the Spirit, the Holy One, the third relation in the Trinity, whose essence is holiness, is the author of what the Psalmist doth write." (Matthew Poole) The Holy Spirit, the Helper, the Comforter, says listen to His voice.  How we respond to His voice is critical.  We can loop right back to the beginning of Hebrews 1:3, "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son..."  "He has spoken to us."  Are we ready to listen?

"Today, if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts..."

"Barnes' Notes on the Bible,"
"His voice--The voice of God speaking to us:
1. in His written word;
2.  in the preached gospel;
3.  in our own consciences;
4. in the events of His Providence;
5.) in the admonitions of our relatives and friends."

"Whatever conveys to us the truth of God, or is adapted to impress that on us, may be regarded as 'His voice' speaking to us.  He speaks to us 'every day' in some of these ways; and every day, therefore He may entreat us not to harden our hearts."

Matthew Henry says, "The hardening of the heart is the spring of all other sins.  The sins of others, especially sin committed by God's professing, privileged people, not only provokes God, but it grieves Him...He waits long to be gracious to them. 

But sin, long persisted in, will make God's wrath discover itself and destroy the impenitent.  If once we allow ourselves to distrust God, we may soon desert Him.  Let those who think they stand, take heed lest they fall.  The deceitfulness of sin hardens the soul; one sin allowed makes way for another; and every act of sin confirms the habit.  Let everyone beware of sin."

It is a special privilege to have a Christian heritage.  Ours goes back many generations.  But we may not inherit salvation: it must be received by each and everyone individually.  Having said that, how sad that so many in our family have hardened their hearts, "God's professing, privileged people."  It was an unusual circumstance, the threat of a dam failure with the added threat of flooding from failed levees, that sent us to the hills to the welcome from my second cousin to find shelter in his beautiful home.  We've had little contact over the years except more recently via the internet finding we are like-minded.

His personal testimony was a story of amazing grace, being saved at the age of 42.  But from his precious heritage, he witnessed that some had fallen away, some with bitter rejection of their faith, while some were "icons" of the Christians faith.  It is interesting to me that Barnes suggested that we can hear God's voice through the "admonition of relatives and friends."  But my relative related how after he became a Christian, he went to a reunion expecting to be warmly embraced since now he was a Christian.  Some did, but others were lukewarm or even hostile  to his profession of faith.  We all have the same Christian heritage, but not all have continued in it.

"Harden not your hearts." ...resistance of grace.  As in the provocation in the day of temptation in the wilderness, is referring to the two places called by these names from what occurred there...the Hebrew names given, Massah, literally, "strife," Marah, "bitterness."  These are a warning to us, to avoid strife, striving against God and each other, and bitterness, both causing hardness of heart.

My experience of going to a family reunion  in Texas once was lovely, only blemished by a bitter rant by one of the elders.  However, it is said that in these later years, his heart has become tender again.  In fact after reading my book about my grandmother, which details this precious heritage, "Miss Ruby from Texas," he called me to tell me how much it meant to him and ordered copies for his children. 

"Do not harden your hearts."   This will be continued.

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