MDB 83: Hebrews 3
May 3, 2010
The caution to beware unbelief in others and ourselves comes through loudly in this chapter. We have a tendency to idealize the past while fretting over the future. These are twin errors. The biblical emphasis is to believe today (Heb. 3:7, 13, 15).
Building on the "Jesus is better" theme, the author of Hebrews contrasts Jesus with Moses. Like many people, the Jews were proud of their heritage. "We are of our father Abraham" (Jn. 8:39 ff.). But like many people, they trusted in their heritage too much -- glossing over the shortcomings and celebrating the glories. The writer of Hebrews wants to be sure there is an accurate understanding of Israel's past and the devastating consequences of unbelief (3:16-19).
The history of what happened at Kadesh-Barnea would not have been too far from the memory of the average Israelite (Num. 14; 32:8-15). This was the defining moment of the exodus from Egypt. There the nation of Israel stood, right on the border of Canaan. This was the moment promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And yet their faith faltered (Deut. 9:23). All they saw were the giants in the land (Num. 13:33). Those who grumbled in the wilderness saw their problems but not the One who promised.
Unbelief is something to be guarded against every moment (Heb. 3:12). It is something we need to beware (Heb. 3:13). There is a gradual hardening that happens in our hearts when we are not trusting God's Word, believing His promises, and treasuring Christ. We grow deaf to God's Spirit and spiritless in our service.
These things were written for our instruction (1 Cor. 10:5-6). Hebrews 3 calls those of us who "share in Christ" (Heb. 3:14) to trust not in yesterday, but to believe in God and His Word today.