“Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
This chapter wonderfully illustrates the relationship between God and His children. God is our heavenly Father and the only thing He ever wants from us is to listen to His voice. The chapter further illustrates the results of God’s chosen people who rebelled against Him by hardening their hearts.
Why was that generation that Moses brought out of Egypt destroyed in the wilderness? Why was God even willing to let His Name be put to shame? Interestingly, the Bible puts it in the last verse of the chapter the reason behind it all….
“So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief”
The Israelites of that generation could not enter the land of Canaan which spiritually speaking represented heaven because of their unbelief.
Somehow, not listening to the voice of God is tantamount to unbelief. Although these people saw the many wonderful and even awesome miracles of God, they could not fully put their faith in God’s providence and many times rebelled against Moses because of their impatience and unbelief.
They were not saved because of their lack of faith or unbelief. The unbelief came from the lack of fear of God and understanding of God’s righteous judgment. The unbelief also came from them not having faith in God’s promises of the land of Canaan. God literally gave them this piece of land but due to their unbelief and even fear of the inhabitants of the land, they tested God’s love and promises.
If we look at the church or ourselves today, have we kept the faith? Have we truly and faithfully heeded God’s voice? Does this voice come from pastors or eloquent speakers or does this voice come from the Bible, God’s words?
What is the fundamental difference between our church and the other churches out there? What differentiates TJC and the rest of Christendom? Many churches and pastors out there mock at us for doggedly following the words written in the Bible. They jeer at us by saying we lack faith by having to go through all these rituals like baptism and foot washing. They claim, all these are not necessary for salvation and some even went to the extent to say that by conducting such rituals, we will not have salvation. They claim just having belief is enough.
Is that true? Sadly, there are even church members who support such outside church viewpoints.
Is believing in Jesus as the Son of God enough? Or does belief encompasses the entire Word of God? Is belief equal to heeding the voice of God?
The chosen people of that generation did not heed the voice of God. They rebelled against His instructions. God was furious with them, He punished them and finally the last straw they were barred from entering the Promise Rest. God said, this was due to their unbelief.
Therefore, let us continue to hold fast the Word of God and not be swayed by eloquent speakers or noises around us. Let us continue to have this simple faith and trust in God’s words. If God were to ask us to dip into the a faraway river seven times to be healed, we do so because we believe in His Words even if we do not understand the rationale for doing so. That is called an unquestionable and unwavering faith. That is called obedience and is something that our Lord delights.
“But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” (1 Sam 15:22)
As a closing verse,
“Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.” (Heb 4:11)
In the New Testament Jesus reiterates,
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Mt 7:21)