Monday in the Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

Hebrews 3:14-19

Heed the Warning

Referring to the writings of the Old Testament, the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “These things took place as examples for us that we might not desire evil as they did.”  And a little later, “But they were written down for our instruction on whom the end of the ages has come” (1 Corinthians 10:6, 11b).  The Preacher is doing the same thing here in his sermon to the Hebrews: He uses Psalm 95 and Israel’s rebellion in the wilderness to encourage, indeed warn, the Hebrews to “hold [their] original confidence firm to the end.”

Those ancient Hebrews had seen the Lord do so much for them: plaguing the Egyptians ten separate times, parting the Red Sea, drowning the Egyptian army, spreading a table of manna and quail in a desert, providing a fountain from a rock, descending on Mount Sinai in thunder, lightning, and earthquake, and carving his law in stone for them to follow.  There were no questions left unanswered; theirs was only to obey.  It is true that there were giants in the land, but the Lord had conquered every “giant” they had encountered thus far.  They need only trust and obey and they would enter into the land promised to their father, Abraham, the land the Preacher borrowing from Psalm 95:11 calls here, “rest.”  But they didn’t obey.  At the crucial moment, they would not trust God, take courage, and enter in.  They even spoke of choosing a leader to take them back to Egypt.  And God took it personal: “How long will this people despise me (Numbers 14:11)?”

The ancient Hebrews thus serve as a negative example for those “on whom the end of the ages has come.”  And the warning for both the Hebrews to whom the Preacher was writing and to us is: Don’t let this happen to you!  And it would be entirely inappropriate at this point to interject arguments about how this passage supports or does not support “once saved, always saved.”  To sum, it does not touch on that at all.  The point of this passage is to issue a stern warning to God’s people that falling prey to hardening due to the deceitfulness of sin, not holding to our original confidence, falling away, rebellion, disobedience, is all rooted in unbelief—a despising of the Lord God who sent His Son to deliver us from temptation and sin—which is a far greater thing than all plagues, parting of seas, shaking of mountains, and any other miracle He performed in the desert.  We have less excuse than they did to balk right at the door.  And if we do balk, if we do faint, if we do fall away, if we do quit before we finish the race—we will NOT enter His rest—“once saved, always saved,” notwithstanding.  Heed the warning!

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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