Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hebrews 3: 1-11

So, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts… Hebrews 3: 7-8a

Wow. What a challenge that is!

Three things I notice. The author of Hebrews is quoting Psalm 95: 7-11. However, he doesn’t refer to the words of this Psalm as the words of a human being, but as the words of the Holy Spirit.

The second thing I notice is the phrase, “IF you hear his voice…” Hearing the Spirit’s voice isn’t automatic or assumed. It may or may not happen. One, for instance, can read the pages of Scripture and only hear the voice of man, of someone writing a long time ago. Or one can read it as the words of human beings, yes, but human beings writing in such a way that their words carry the very voice of God.

When we read the Bible this way, we read it expecting to hear God speak. We listen for his voice speaking every bit as clearly and specifically to us as it did when those words were first written.

The third thing I notice is the command, “do not harden your hearts.” The Message says, “don’t turn a deaf ear”. The New Century Version says, “don’t be stubborn.”

So let’s assume we have heard the Spirit speak, perhaps in the pages of Scripture, perhaps in some inner prompting or leading, perhaps in something someone has said to us that had the ring of truth. What the writer of Hebrews is really saying is, “DO IT!”

Of course, if we all did what the Spirit prompts us to do, the church, our families, and the world, would be very different places. It’s often easy to pick out the ways the people around us fail to heed the Spirit (“I wish so and so heard that sermon,” instead of thinking how much we needed to hear it.) But chances are, we are no different. Chances are, the Spirit is speaking to us as well, but we remain stubbornly set in our ways, refuse to listen, and ultimately harden our hearts.

So how can we keep that from happening? May I suggest that is a question well worth pondering? More than that, it’s a question worth going to any lengths to answer, not only in our minds, but especially in our lives.

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