Wednesday 11 October 2017

Bible Book:

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (verse 7)

Hebrews 3:7-14 Wednesday 11 October 2017

Psalm: Psalm 101


Although today's passage starts at verse 7 you might like toread from the start of chapter 3. You'll see that Jesus, onceagain named as high priest, is being compared with Moses. Thefaithful character of Moses, and his place in God's plan, isclearly acknowledged (Hebrews 3:2), but because Jesus is God's Sonhis place is so much more significant. Note also how the image ofGod's house is used (Hebrews 3:3-6). At first, we might be temptedto think towards a building of some sort (possibly a temple?), butby verse 6 it's clear that the house is formed by the community ofpeople rather than any physical structure.

Of course, Moses is also remembered as the one who led thechildren of Israel through the wilderness and, under God, faced upto their struggles and rebellion on the way. Thus we come totoday's passage with its quotation from Psalm95:7-11. You might note how the psalm is introduced by thewords "as the Holy Spirit says". The words which follow are notjust a description of times past and poetry written long ago. Theyare for today.

The psalm sings of God's frustration with the people'srebellion, even though they had experienced God's own saving handthrough their rescue from slavery in Egypt (Exodus12), through the provision of Manna in the desert (Exodus16) and through the gracious provision of the Commandments sothat they could know God's ways and enter a right relationship withGod (Exodus 20). Note how the quotation ends inverse 11 with the ominous warning that God would not be patient forever.

In verse 12 we turn from warning back to encouragement. In yesterday's passage, we were introduced to thethought that Christ considers us to be family, brothers andsisters. This theme of our belonging together is developed furthertoday as we're given the task keeping one another encouraged in thefaith, and watching over each other.

To Ponder

  • How can you prevent hardness of heart from entering into yourlife, your family attitudes and the life of your congregation?
  • Psalm 95 (also known as the Venite,from the Latin translation of its first word) is said or sung aspart of the tradition of morning prayer. However, some versions(including the one in the Methodist Worship Book) omit theverses about hardness of heart and God's anger. Are they right todo so? Why? What would you do?
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