The Power of Grace Ministries

February 20

Today if we will hear His voice and not harden our hearts as the children did in the wilderness, we will see His mighty blessings in our life. So how do we prevent hardening of our hearts? By learning to rest in His perfect work and lay down the strife in our own lives.

Hebrews 3:7-12
7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you will hear His voice, 8 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, 9 Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years. 10 Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, 'They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.' 11 So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest.' “12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;

 

                Verse 7 is a quote from Psalms 95:7 and verse 8 is a quote from Psalms 95:8. The emphasis here is our own heart. God will never be the One that gets in the way of our walk with Him. Some people hang on Romans 8:30 as some kind of wacko truth that God predestines who will and who will not go to heaven. That is just stupid! Ignorance can be overcome, but stupid is simply ignorance allowed to go to seed. Anyone that believes this has not opened their heart to the whole word of God which brings us back to the core of verse 7&8. The children of Israel in the wilderness, although they saw miracle after miracle, kept looking back with poor remembrance to the good part of the natural things they left in Egypt. They forgot they were slaves and lived in lack, but because of the hardness of their heart they consistently rebelled and looked back. Judas Iscariot is a New Testament character we can learn from regarding the hardness of heart. Some people believe he did what he did to Jesus, because God chose him to be the one necessary to fulfill the prophesy. He was not chosen, but God does allow us to stew in our own juices.

Judas Iscariot was a thief and according to John 1:12 he was the one that kept the money box for the disciples and often took the money out for himself. Judas never overcame the hardness of his heart of his greed for money. It was the hardness of his heart that made the glitter of money so appealing to him and caused him to turn Jesus over to the Pharisees’ for a few pieces of silver. It will be the hardness of our heart in some area that will keep us from entering in to the fullness of what God has in store for us and could cause us to denounce our salvation and reject God’s grace. Hardness of heart is not just in a person living in sin. Hardness of heart can often be found in a Christian that does not have a full understanding of who Jesus truly is. Hardness of heart will cause a Christian to believe so strongly in their works or denomination that they will not even allow the true word of God to stumble them into the truth. Unless you understand that Jesus was 100% God and 100% man while here on earth, you will by nature gravitate into a walk of works and legalism. This type of person develops a hardness of heart and becomes un-teachable.

Unfortunately there are pulpits all around this world that are filled with this kind of person. They are not bad people, and most of them are not of the Devil. Many of them are truly sincere, but they are also sincerely wrong. They have a good heart, but their mind is hardened. Judas Iscariot never renewed his mind to line up with the teachings of Jesus even though he was one of the twelve closest to Him and saw the miracles first hand. Can you see where hardness of heart will blind the truth? The Apostle Paul renewed his mind daily and was consistently seeking God, that is why he went from an arrogant man seeking to destroy the church to a man that heard from God and wrote the majority of the New Testament. All I can say is check your heart, are you teachable?

                Verse 9 is a statement of fact. The children of Israel tested God and Moses so often that both Moses and God were ready to give up on them. Fortunately both God and Moses were not fed up at the same time. Study shows that Moses often stood between the children of Israel and God’s wrath. Study also shows that Moses often complained about the rebellion and hardness of heart to God and wanted God to destroy them. The greatest point to look at is in verse 10 & 11. I was angry with that generation, Christians are not that generation, and we are not of the Moses generation. Despite all of the televangelists and prophets that say God is mad at Christians for their sin as a people and that is why He has sent destruction to us through natural disasters and terrorists that does not line up with the word of God. God is not angry with the New Covenant generation. Since the cross, God has spent all of His anger at sin on Jesus who knew no sin. Read John 3:16-21 completely. Most Christians can quote John 3:16, but very few can even tell you what the next verse says. Bottom line is God is not mad at this generation, but the hardness of our heart can keep us from receiving the goodness of God and His blessings on our life. God is Not Mad at You!

                Verse 12 is not just talking about a person that does not believe in Jesus as their Lord and savior. Remember that Hebrews was written to Jews who had been converted to Christianity, but had also begun to slip back into the works of the Law of Moses and the prophets. It is an evil heart of unbelief that will cause a person to hang on stronger to a rule or law in effort to keep their salvation instead of walking in faith that Jesus has already paid the price for us. For the Joshua generation, which is the generation that began with the resurrection of Jesus and continues today, the word from God is yes and amen, not anger and rejection for everything done wrong. The writer of Hebrews has quoted from Psalms 95 in the previous four verses in effort to prove that God was angry with that generation for their hardness of heart which leads to unbelief. It was not necessarily their specific sins that kept the original generation of children of Israel out of the promise land it was their unbelief, Hebrews 3:19 (So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.)