The Most Dangerous Place on Earth

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October 4, 2021

Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)

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.

CONSIDER THIS

It’s a beautiful, and powerful thing, when Scripture quotes Scripture. In fact, the only way to understand Scripture is through a wider and deeper Holy Spirit inspired reading of Scripture. I want you to notice how the Bible regularly does this. This word, “encourage one another daily,” can be read at face value, and yet there is a much deeper context we must explore to get at what it means. If we back up yet a few more verses we see the text from Psalm 95:

“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.’ ”

So the writer of Hebrews is remembering Psalm 95 which is remembering the story of Meribah, which is the occasion in the Wilderness when the people were facing a crisis of a lack of water. Rather than leaning into the God who had provided for them every step of the way, they began to quarrel bitterly among themselves and grumble harshly against their leaders. It was a defining moment, a place where their faith was tested and where their faith failed. It turned out to be the place where their hearts began to be hardened. 

Now, in light of this context, read our text yet again:

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.

Over the course of our lives, all of us have been through difficult trials. Unjust treatment, unforeseen losses, tragic deaths, life-stealing diseases, betrayals, relationship failures and all manner of pain and suffering. These things create wilderness seasons that can go on for long periods of time. These are the places where slowly and often imperceptibly lose faith in God. We would rarely identify it as such, but we begin to “shrink back” from real trust. We “believe” in principle, but not in an every day kind of trusting reality. We take on a wilderness wound and our hearts slowly begin to harden. We don’t so much choose hardness as we fail to pursue healing. We allow a wall of protection to be constructed around our heart, and while it does protect us in some ways, it also slowly and imperceptibly isolates us from God and others. 

This is how sin deceives us. We mistakenly focus on sin at the level of our behaviors when they are merely the symptoms of the sickness. Sin, in its deepest essence, is the condition of an unbelieving heart and an unbelieving or untrusting heart inevitably becomes a hardened heart. And a hardened heart is the most dangerous place on earth. 

So what does encouragement have to do with any of this? Psalm 95 begins:

TODAY, IF ONLY YOU WOULD HEAR HIS VOICE.

Encouragement, in the biblical sense of the term, is about personally and particularly hearing the voice of God from another person. When we encourage one another we are learning to speak to one another in the voice of God in the humble authority of Jesus in the loving power of the Holy Spirit. This doesn’t come to us naturally. It only comes supernaturally and yet it is a learned way. 

AS LONG AS IT IS CALLED TODAY. 

Now, tomorrow, we will go from the wilderness of Meribah to the wilderness of Covid-19 and all h-e-double hockey-sticks may break loose. For now, it’s still TODAY. 

THE PRAYER

God our Father, I want to pray with the Psalmist today, “Search me and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139). Lord Jesus, I open my heart to the searching, searing and saving Light of your Word and Holy Spirit. Is my heart hardened? I wait before you in humility. Speak Lord, your sons and daughters are listening. I want to hear your voice. In Jesus name, Amen. 

THE QUESTION

Are you aware that your heart could be hardened and you could have no idea of it? How does that effect you? What does it make you want to do or how does it make you want to respond? 

P.S. 

There’s still time to jump into THE AWAKENED LIFE COURSE– COHORT 3. It starts tonight and it’s a veritable feast of encouragement. And it is a required course to graduate from the Daily Text. ;0) If you need a scholarship– just ask. In one month your life could completely change and go to the next level. Start Here. 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

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