Journal – November 7, 2021
7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice, 8 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, 9 Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years.
BE FAITHFUL (PART 1)
Vs. 7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today if you will hear His voice.Therefore, since seeing the Lord Jesus Christ, the Author of the gospel in His Office as an Apostle preferred above Moses, we should be considering those duties that are incumbent upon us, especially how careful and watchful we ought to be that we are not by any means diverted or turned aside from that obedience which He requires and which on all accounts is due to Him
As the Holy Spirit says: Today, Here, the Apostle begins quoting from Psalm 95:7-11. The Apostle says, that these are the words of the third Person of the trinity—the Holy Spirit so that you may submit yourselves to His authority. The Holy Spirit spoke to them of old in and by David, so He continues to speak to us Today in the Scriptures, which is not only His word but His voice—His speaking, living, powerful, voice. Whatever was given by inspiration from the Holy Spirit and is recorded in the Scriptures for the use of the Church. He continues to speak it unto us this day.
If you will hear His voice, the voice of God is the signification of His will, which is the rule of all our duty and obedience. The Psalmist speaks to the people as if the voice of God were sounding in their ears. For that which was once the voice of God to the Church (being recorded in the Scriptures) continues still to be so, that is it is not only materially His recorded will, but it is accompanied with that special impression of His authority with which it was first attended. To hear His voice, is the act of the whole soul, in understanding, choosing, and resolving to do the will of God as declared by His voice.
Vs. 8Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness. Do notharden your hearts, The Apostle enforces his exhortation unto obedience in the words of the Psalmist (still quoting from Psalm 95:7-11). Here is a caution against, or a prohibition of the contrary. The word “heart” is that whereby the principle of all our moral actions and the respective influence of all the faculties of our souls in them is exposed. It appears that this sinful hardening of the heart which is what the people in the wilderness were guilty of, and what the Apostle warns the Hebrews to avoid, there are three things that do concur:
- A sinful neglect, in not taking due notice of the ways and means whereby God calls any to faith and obedience.
- A sinful forgetfulness and casting out of the heart and mind such convictions as God by His word and works, His mercies and judgments, His deliverances, and afflictions, at any time is pleased to cast them and fasten upon them.
- An obstinate cleaving of the affections to carnal and sensual objects, practically preferring them above the motives to obedience that God proposed to us. Where these things are so, the hearts of men are so hardened, that in an ordinary way they cannot hear the voice of God. Such is the nature, efficacy, and power of the voice or word of God, that man cannot withstand or resist it without a sinful hardening of themselves against it.
Everyone to whom the word is duly revealed who is not converted to God, does voluntarily oppose his own obstinacy to its efficacy and operation. If men will add new obstinacy and hardness to their minds and hearts, if they will fortify themselves against the word with prejudices and dislikes, if they will resist in work through a love to their lusts and corrupt affections, God may justly leave them to perish, and to be filled with the fruit of their own ways. This state of things is variously expressed in the Scriptures as:
- By God’s willingness for the salvation of those to whom He grants His word as the means for their conversion (Ezekiel 18: 23; 33: 11; 2 Peter 3: 9; 1 Timothy 2:4).
- By His expectations with them that reject His word, casting all the cause of their destructions upon themselves (Matthew 23:34). The gospel is proposed to the wills of men (Isaiah.55:1; Revelation22:17). Hence it is that the miscarriage of men under the dispensation of the word is still charged upon some positive actions of their wills in opposition to it (Isaiah 30:15; Matthew 23;37; John 3:19; 5: 40). They perish not, they defeat not the end of the word towards themselves by a mere abode and continuing in the state wherein the word finds them, but by rejecting the counsel of God made known to them for their recovering and healing.
Many previous sins make way for the great sin of finally rejecting the voice or word of God. Hardening of the heart goes before final impenitency and infidelity, as the means and cause of it. Things do not ordinarily come to an immediate issue between God and them to whom the gospel is preached. He finds men in a state of nature, that is of enmity against Him; in this state He offers them terms of peace, and waits their answer, during the season of His good pleasure to see what the event will be. The Apostle enforces his exhortation by the words ‘today’ in the text has a special reference to the season enjoyed by the people in the wilderness who neglected it; to those spoken to by the Psalmist, those who were exhorted to use it; and unto present Hebrews whose gospel day was therein foretold and prefigured. Thus, we see that Old Testament examples are New Testament instructions.
In the first preaching of the gospel some were converted, and the rest were hardened; a signal work passed there on them all, and those who spoke the word became a sweet savor to them that are saved, and in them that perish. The conscientious of men will discover their times. If the gospel makes them not better, they will be worse and this they may find by the search of themselves. The especial duty incumbent on men in such a day is in all things to hearken to the voice of God.
Vs. 9 Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years. God in His dealings with their fathers laid instructions for their posterity. It is a dangerous thing for children to boast of the privilege of their fathers, and to imitate their sins and it is a great aggravation of sin when multitudes join in it. Their sin was in their provoking, the sin intended, as is evident from the story, was unbelief acting itself by murmurings and complaints. Their murmurings which were the fruit of their unbelief, provoked God. And this was specially so for the day of temptation—the day of Messiah—where they first murmured for water and tempted God by the discovery of their unbelief. This day began upon the temptation of Messiah and continued through the whole course of their wanderings in the wilderness—their multiplied temptations and God made this whole time a day of temptation. The people grumbled at Moses, but when God came to call them to account, He says they strove with Him and provoked Him.
We see from this that the sinful actions of men against those who deal with them in the name of God, and about the works or will of God, are principally against God Himself. The Lord applies this rule over those that dispense the gospel. He speaks “He that heareth you heareth Me, and he that despises you despises Me, and he that despises Me despises Him that sent Me.” The preachers of the gospel are sent by Christ; therefore, to despise them is to despise Christ, and through Him to despise God Himself. And the reason thereof is, that act in His name and stead, as His ambassadors among men is always esteemed to render to dishonor of him by whom he is employed. By these things God is provoked and let us notice that there is commonly a day, a time, when unbelief rises to its height in provocation. The time is uncertain, men know not when their provocations will come to this height, it is also unalterable and irreversible. When the provocation of unbelief reaches this height, there is no space or room left for repentance either on the part of God or the sinner. Let persons, let churches, let nations take heed before they fall unawares in this evil day.
Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years. When men are engaged in any way of God, according to their duty, and meeting with difficulty and opposition in it, if they give way to despondency and unbelief after having received signal, pledges of His faithfulness in former effects of His wisdom, care, and power, they tempt God, and are guilty of the sin here condemned. The most eminent instances in the Scripture of tempting God, and most frequently mentioned, are those of the Israelites in the wilderness. They tempted the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?” They turned back and tempted God and limited the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember His hand, nor the day when He delivered them from the enemy. Alas, how often do we contract the guilt of each sin, both in our personal family and public concerns.
They saw “My works forty years in the wilderness” and by their unbelief they provoked God. The wilderness was the place where they were brought into liberty after sore bondage of Egypt, it was the place where they lived solely and visibly upon God’s extraordinary daily provision for them, it was also the place where they had none to tempt them, none to provoke them, nor to tempt them to sin, for the people dwelt alone, and were not numbered among the nations, and it was the place where they continually saw the works of God, and that for forty years. All these things greatly aggravated their guilt. They provoked God, and from their history we may learn that no place, no retirement, no solitary wilderness will secure man from sin, or from suffering provocation, or punishment. Let us learn to look for all help against sin merely from grace. A wilderness will not help us, nor a paradise. In the one, (paradise) Adam sinned, and we all in him sinned. In the other, (wilderness) Israel sinned, and that is an example to all of us
Catechism Question 85
Q: What is required in the tenth commandment?
A: The tenth commandment requires complete contentment with our own condition, with a right and charitable frame of spirit towards our neighbor and all that is his.
5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
“Prove it” Catechism Question 120
Q: What do we pray for in the first petition?
A: That God’s name may be honored by us and all men..
Prove it: Psalm 67:3 Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise you.