Hebrews 3

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:

Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works for 40 years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation and said, “They always go astray in their hearts, and they have not known My ways.” So I swore in My anger, “They will not enter My rest.”

Watch out, brothers, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that departs from the living God. But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. For we have become companions of the Messiah if we hold firmly until the end the reality that we had at the start.  

Hebrews 3:7-14

The author of Hebrews is referring to Numbers 20:1-13 where the Israelites grumbled and complained, testing God in the wilderness. In this instance God instructed Moses to speak to the rock and it would yield water for the complaining people (Num. 20:8). But in Moses’ anger he struck the rock instead (Num. 20:11).  And his disobedience and lack of trust cost him the promised land. A sobering truth here.

This is the second time the Israelites grumbled and quarreled at this place, they did it in Exodus 17 too, and then too God brought water from the rock. It was at that time Moses named the place “Testing (the Lord) & Quarrelling”- Massah & Meribah.

Are you grumbling and quarreling even after God miraculously brought water out of your desert rock, once, twice, or more? How quickly we forget His abundant provisions in our lives and turn to complaining again, and again.

What practical safeguards can you place in your life to keep you from the Massah & Meribah in your life?

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In Psalm 95:6-11 the psalmist issues a warning, do not harden your hearts as at Meribah on that day at Massah in the wilderness where they tested Me; tried Me, although they had seen (the miracles) I did.

As a result of the Israelites hardened hearts and unbelief, they were unable to enter His rest. (Hebrews 3:8)

A hardened heart is the result of stubbornness. A choice to be defiant and indignant. They believed Moses had treated them unfairly, quickly forgetting their slavery, and desired to return to their vomit. They wrongly believed Moses led them out to the wilderness to die. They chose to ignore the countless blessings and endless favor the Lord had showed them. How He had been richly and abundantly providing for them along the whole way.

The hardening of a heart does not happen swiftly in one step, it is slow shift. We must, therefore, pay even more attention to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away (and miss our rest / reward) Hebrews 2:1.

In what areas of your life do you need God to soften your heart today? Ask Him to come and reveal just how good He is, then surrender your hard heart. After all, how useful is a hardened lump of clay no longer malleable enough to mold, or dough left out all night, now cracking and dry?

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