Hebrews 3:7-4:13 As Long as it is Called Today
Our author compares the Hebrew children who left Egypt with the new believers. Where were their hearts pointed?
I have often wondered how the people who witnessed so MANY miraculous works of God could still not follow Him. The group of people I am specifically pointing out are those who left Egypt with Moses. They were present for all ten of the plagues God sent. They watched as Pharaoh’s armies were drowned in the Red Sea. They themselves had just walked across that sea ON DRY LAND!
Yet shortly after entering the wilderness the people begin to whine and complain. Not the right kind of food. I’m thirsty. I bet there were many “I’m hot and tired” choruses offered up. The one that really makes me shake my head is when they say “Give us a new god to guide us.” WHAT!?!
I realize now that their hearts never really left Egypt. Their bodies did but not their hearts. They never put their hearts in God’s hands. They held onto all the “good” parts of their captivity. They had enough to eat, usually. They had water available to them. And as for gods, they learned well from their masters. “If you want one you make one of your liking.” Egypt had a god on every corner and in every home. If they didn’t like the one they had they only needed to trade it in on another. The Hebrew children expected to be able to trade in or trade up for another god when things got tough.
That is NOT how our God works!!! I will guarantee you some hard times when you give your life to God. I will also guarantee you some really great times. But more than anything, if you give your whole heart to Him, He will see you through ALL of the times to come.
I was thinking about the “rest” that our author keeps referring to. I think there are two rests God gives us. The final rest is when we enter His Kingdom and are completely free of all pain and worry. The other rest is the KNOWING that you are His. This was something that plagued me as a child.
I don’t know how many times I “prayed the prayer of salvation” and still felt lost. I was. I didn’t have a personal relationship with God those early years. I knew about God and I knew of God but I didn’t know Him personally. He wasn’t Lord of my life. When I finally handed Him the keys to my heart, I knew the rest spoken of here; not the final rest but the belonging rest.
I still fight sin in my life. I still don’t have all the answers. I still forget to give Him my problems to deal with. But I DON’T go “god shopping.” I KNOW there is no other God but Him. I also know that all these self-made gods are just disaster waiting to strike.
I think that our author is trying to point out the heart condition and relationship status of each of us. Did we truly give God the keys to our heart or does it still belong to “Egypt?” God won’t sever the ties of Egypt for you anymore. He did that once and the people didn’t respond as they should. You have to choose to cut those ties and lay your life in His hands. When you do, sin won’t hold the pleasure it once did for you. Its hold will weaken in indirect proportion to your commitment to Him. As your commitment to Him goes up, sin’s power in your life goes down. (Too much math lately.) You WON’T “fall away” when you are in a real relationship with God. Your heart is changed and your desire is to please Him. You WILL still have times when you mess up but your relationship will draw you right back into His arms. If this is not true in your life then maybe you need to reexamine your relationship and see if it is real.
I want to add one more group to this comparison. That would be those who one day stand before God saying that they did all these works in His name yet He says He didn’t/doesn’t know them. That is because they tried to make their own way into Heaven. They tried to get in by doing the works a “good Christian” would do without the personal relationship first. Establish the relationship FIRST and the rest will fall into place as it develops. It DOES NOT work the other way around!
Thank You Father God for prompting me to keep examining my commitment to You. Thank You for the peace that came in my life when I finally gave You my heart. Yes, I’ve had my seasons where things were not as they should be but You never abandoned me in those places. That’s because You don’t give up on Your own. Because I belong to You, You fight for me! You sustain me in the hard places. And You bring me back to where I should be.
I know my salvation is NOT by the works of my own hands but my hands. But the works of my hands speak of my love for You. Please let them shout loud and clear! Thank You for Your rest, now and in the future.