Lesson 8

The Epistle to the Hebrews

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

3:7 Therefore, even as the Holy Spirit says,

 "Today if you will hear his voice,

 3:8 Don't harden your hearts, as in the provocation,
      Like as in the day of the trial in the wilderness,

 3:9 Where your fathers tested me by proving me,
      And saw my works for forty years.

 3:10 Therefore I was displeased with that generation,
      And said, 'They always err in their heart,
      But they didn't know my ways;'

 3:11 As I swore in my wrath,
      'They will not enter into my rest.'"

3:12 Beware, brothers, lest perhaps there be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God; 3:13 but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called "today;" lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 3:14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm to the end: 3:15 while it is said,

 "Today if you will hear his voice,
      Don't harden your hearts, as in the rebellion."

3:16 For who, when they heard, rebelled? No, didn't all those who came out of Egypt by Moses? 3:17 With whom was he displeased forty years? Wasn't it with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 3:18 To whom did he swear that they wouldn't enter into his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 3:19 We see that they were not able to enter in because of unbelief.

Today's Lesson  

The author had declared Jesus to be high priest over the household of God and to be superior to even Moses. When he had written that Jesus was greater than the prophets and the angels, he had concluded that because Jesus was greater we must be even more diligent to obey the gospel of Christ. Having now compared Jesus to Moses, he draws on an illustration from Moses and the Exodus to encourage these Christians.


This extensive quote comes from Psalm 95 and is an admonition to Israel to persevere to the very end and hold faith. When Moses led the people out of Egypt he led them to Mt. Sinai. There the law was given. Moses then took the people directly to the Promise Land. But, before entering he sent out twelve men to spy out the land. When the spies returned, all but two reported that the land was too heavily defended to enter. They convinced the majority of the people and the army of Israel refused to go in and take the land as God had commanded.


So, God swore in His wrath, "They will not enter into my rest." God led them in the wilderness for thirty-eight years until a whole generation of fighting men had died in the desert. The psalmist used this story to appeal to Israel not to harden their hearts and test God as their forefathers had done. They must believe the Word of God that had been given to them and hold fast to it until the end.


It is not enough that they should each believe and hold firm. The author exhorts them that they must encourage one another. They must hold up one another and help their brothers to stand. Faith, and the lack of it, is not just an individual response to God. God has placed us into the Body of Christ and it is in that body that we must live out our faith. It is not enough to save oneself and watch all those around you fail. God has placed us into a community of believers and it is within that community that we must stand or fall.

Are you helping your brother's in Christ to stand today?


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