The Israelites, an Example of Drifting Away.

‘Jesus, only Jesus help me to trust you more’, is the song I’m singing is morning. My trust in You is complete – yet help me to trust You more – my trust seems to me often to be affected by my emotions. At times I am on fire – ready to face the steepest cliffs and the highest mountains – at other times not so sure and struggling to believe and trust completely.

“Yes Ian I made you and all my other children with an ability to experience a full set of emotions – a full set of senses too – so that your life might be complete. You would never know what the peaks of joy are – to feel that, experience that, if it weren’t for for the valleys of uncertainty, pain, doubt, mourning, sickness. So I lead you through this impetuous world, allowing you to experience all the emotions, so that your joy may be so much greater, your experience of My love may be so much sweeter as I gather you into My arms where you are safely protected by My love, which does not vacillate but is the same yesterday, to-day and forever. Simply know it is a feature of true trust to see yourself as unable to fulfil what you need and recognize your total need of Me, My love and My perfection.”

we are continuing in Hebrews with the melody line of warning not to drift away and our question: “Can one lose one’s salvation?” After making the point of the importance of Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith (ch 2) and a brief reminder that Jesus is greater than Moses 3:1-6 (who gave the law which they now are wanting to fall back on) as He is the builder of the house of which Moses is just part of, the writer now addresses the whole matter of drifting away again.(From 3:7-4:13)

He uses the rescue of the Israelites as an example (1 Cor 10:6, but remember it is only an example) of drifting away. So he describes the Israelites having being “rescued” from Egypt and travelling through the desert to the Promised Land which is their ultimate destination. However the majority did not enter the Promised Land because their hearts became ‘hardened by unbelief’ 3:8, 12, 13,19, 4:2, which led them to disobedience 3:12,18, 4:6,11. Now notice the progression, unbelief, hardening of hearts and then disobedience. So the writer then shows that this example was meant to convey and eternal truth and that the Promised Land or God’s Rest is equivalent to heaven and that only those who had heard the word and combined it with faith 4:2, would enter. In fact it was only Joshua and Caleb who ultimately entered he Promised Land from all those who were rescued from Egypt. A spine-chilling thought.

Then he goes on to remind the reader that the problem was not with God’s Word being inadequate, that they became disobedient, because that Word is alive and active and powerful. (4:12,13). So what was the problem and here I want to bring back a connection to us? Vs 2 of Ch 4 has an interesting Greek construction which has been translated as combining the hearing of the word with faith, which I would say is the correct translation. The original speaks though of a hearing which really hears (a different Greek word for hearing). That describes how they had ‘heard’ the gospel preached to them earlier. What gospel? Well simply, the promise of entry into a land of milk and honey and a covenant relationship with the God, Yahweh, who was taking them there

OK friends what is the name of our blog? Let’s listen to Jesus. Mmmm. So do you hear what I am saying? Reading God’s word, which is everything that is described in 4:12,13 is only effective if we truly listen, with our hearts and hear in such a way that it provokes true faith. Any hardening of the heart, which is associated with not believing will result in further hardening of the hearts and can ultimately lead to disobedience. So what of our friends that seem to have lost their salvation?

You see, being part of the “saved group” like the Israelites who were rescued from Egypt were, is not the guarantee of entry into the promised Land. The message must constantly be combined with faith, heard by the heart to effectively keep us on track to the Promised Land. Just because someone joins in and becomes part of a church is no guarantee of real salvation, there needs to be an aspect of true faith which sets them on the path to heaven, which I will call “saving faith”. The proof of having saving faith is persevering with that faith to the end as the heroes of faith did, described in ch 11.

Nevertheless, none of us knows where anyone else is on the road to the Promised Land, so we each have a duty described in 3:13,14, to encourage one another daily, so we can share in Christ by holding on to the end the confidence we had at first and not be dragged away by sin’s deceitfulness. Saving faith in a Christian context is a very real moment of new birth which transforms one and the person who has truly experienced that and has the presence of the Holy Spirit within, will not ever be totally hardened by sin’s deceitfulness after that. Yet we owe it to each other to keep encouraging one another daily, while it is called to-day to keep on the right track.

So what am I hearing to-day from Jesus? Firstly how important it is that I continue to use every opportunity to encourage my brothers and sisters in their faith. But what of my faith? well the issues I have to deal with day by day are not “eternal issues”, but are challenges in dealing with the obstacles and difficulties of this path through the desert as they impede my progress to the certainty I now have of one day entering my Father’s rest. I have already taken the first step of the “NOW” but have “NOT YET” reached the ultimate destination.

3 Replies to “The Israelites, an Example of Drifting Away.”

  1. Christ said to Paul ” My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness ” 2 Corinthians 12 9 When we depend on the Lord and trust Him with all.our heart in our weakness and calamities and He sustains us He is glorified . When we put our hope in the Lord and rejoice in who He truly is then He is the all-satisfying powerful.Lord of grace, that He is. Our hearts show then that Christ is more desirable for us than anything else in this world . All glory and power be to our Holy Lord forever and ever !

  2. We have the promise that our names are written in God’s palm. That is so profound that our faith leads us to obedience and a deep love for how God did not leave us in our original sin but provided Jesus for us to reconcile us with the Father, and deep love for Jesus. And we are now in a new covenant, and our faith and love will result in our rest of God.

  3. Amen ! The Lord, Christ Himself is our peace, the rest for our souls. If we want peace the Lord must be the treasure of our life. The Lord has to get the glory and we His peace. ” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing ” Romans 15 13

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