Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September 4 - Hebrews 3

Today's reading in our daily plan is Hebrews 3. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • In the opening sentence of today’s chapter Jesus is called an "apostle" and "high priest." Leadership positions of both the Christian church and the Jewish religion are used to describe Jesus’ leadership.
  • It's also pointed out that, though Moses was a central figure in Jewish history (in the book of Exodus you can read how he led God's people out of slavery, and received God's commands to share with the people), Jesus is greater.
  • While on the subject of Moses, we're encouraged to avoid a hardness of heart towards God. In the time of Moses (see Numbers 16) there were some among the people of Israel who became hard hearted, rebelled against God, and therefore were not allowed to enter his rest. We need to make sure we don't follow that same path.
  • The people in Moses' time became hard towards God because, as they travelled through the desert, they were unhappy with their situation. They complained that God brought them out of a "land of milk and honey" and into the desert. But the land of “milk and honey” they referred to was Egypt, where they were abused slaves! Their hard hearts were lying to them about their past, causing them to ignore the good that God was doing in their lives, and leading them to not trust him for the future.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • We see in the Bible that it's very easy for a human heart to become hard towards God. We need to watch for this and guard against it.
  • They thought God didn’t know what he was doing when he brought them into the desert, and they didn’t trust him to get them out. Sometimes God leads us into situations that make us feel like we're lost in a desert. We become tempted to focus on the hard times we’re in while forgetting where God is leading us. We may feel helpless, and our emotion may lead us to say that we're done with God. Christians need to encourage each other to trust God, reminding one another that God is loving to us and purposeful in his leading.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • When are you tempted to think:
    • that what you had before God was better than what you now have with God?
    • that God doesn't know what he's doing because you seem to be lost in the desert? 
    • that your future is bleak because you don't believe God will keep his promises?
  • In those times, how could you stay focused on God and the good he has done and will do in your life? How could you get help to do that?