hard hearts

Hebrews 3:7-19
7So, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you hear his voice, 8do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, 9where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did. 10That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, 'Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.' 11So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.' "  

12See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. 14We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. 15As has just been said: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion."

 16Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? 18And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

It's easy to look down on the Israelites at the time of Moses. They were being led by a pillar of cloud and fire, they were having food provided miraculously on a daily basis and still the regularly grumbled, complained, questioned the goodness of God and, as it says repeatedly in this section of Hebrews, hardened their hearts. When we hear God's voice are we going to listen or harden our hearts? When we hear what He reveals about Himself in the Bible, are we going to listen or harden our hearts? When the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin are we going to repent or harden our hearts by justifying our behaviour? When we are challenged to forgive, confess, give, serve - whatever it might be - we have a choice to be obedient or not. And when we disobey, our heart is hardened a bit more, moving towards the sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from God (v12). As verse 13 says, let's encourage each other, so that our hearts wont be hardened. Today, if you hear His voice... listen!

Listen to a great sermon on this passage, by Geoff Ashley from the Village Church here