The Sacrament of Now

OPENING PRAYER

Merciful Father, I do not want to harden my heart before You in any matter. Please help me.

 

Read: HEBREWS 3:7-19

[7] So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, [8] do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, [9] where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did. [10] That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ [11] So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” [12] See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. [13] But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. [14] We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. [15] As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” [16] Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? [17] And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? [18] And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? [19] So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. 

 

Reflect: IN WHAT WAY IS IT A ‘MATTER OF THE HEART’?

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23). How’s your heart today?On any long journey it is not unusual to want to give up. For the Hebrew Christians the journey was proving to be longer than anticipated. It is likely that this letter was written around 40 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus. A whole generation had passed and still Jesus had not returned. The writer sees clear similarities between their situation and that of the Israelites travelling under the leadership of Moses, and his mind turns to Psalm 95.The problem begins in the heart (12), but it is not a sudden change. Unbelief, turning away from God, constitutes a gradual hardening of the heart (8,13). Some attitudes are so insidious that we fail to recognize them developing within us. If they are not dealt with, they lead ultimately to rebellion (8,15).The way to protect our hearts is to live constantly in God’s “today”. As we respond to the “still small voice” of the Holy Spirit, our hearts are softened to become yet more responsive; each time we resist or disobey his voice, our hearts are hardened.

 

APPLY

Do not to be so impatient to “arrive” that you forget that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord, make me content to be with you today in every moment and give me grace to respond to what you say.

 

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
 

Terry Schneider