Harden Not Your Heart

Today’s Reading: Hebrews Chapter 3

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion” Hebrews 3:7-8

 It’s not often that a verse from the bible resonates with me from my childhood. I was raised Catholic for the first thirty-one years of my life.  I was deeply rooted in that faith tradition. The foundation of my faith was built on tradition and ritual.  My religious education was not particularly focused on scripture.  The way that I learned scripture was through song. Now, as I mature in my Christian identity I get really excited when I recognize God’s words from the sacred songs I learned so long ago. It’s a way for me to reconcile the tenants of my Catholic Christian identity to my new more biblically based Christian identity. When I read through today’s scripture Hebrews 3, I immediately heard the melody of a song by David Haas sung so frequently during mass called, “If Today You Hear His Voice.”

I know now that this passage refers to the Israelites that had hardened their hearts toward God while in the desert. By resisting God’s will we become convinced that God cannot deliver on his promises. Despite the fact that we hear His voice leading us on a daily basis we often refuse to listen. As we dig in our heels and our stubborn nature takes over, we cannot turn to God for help. For the Hebrew Christians, their faith was deeply rooted in the rituals, commandments and the prophets they knew. The message of Jesus conquering sin, fulfilling the Law and providing eternal life was surprisingly hard for them to accept. The NIV Study Bible says this about the second generation Hebrew Christians,

“Although they had sought the Messiah for centuries, they were entrenched in thinking and worshiping in traditional forms. Following Jesus seemed to repudiate their marvelous heritage and Scriptures. Those who did accept Jesus as the Messiah often found themselves slipping back into familiar rout9ines, trying to live a hybrid faith.” (Zondervan NIV p. 2059)

Hybrid faith.  Did you get that? The Hebrew Christians were trying to customize or personalize their faith into a hybrid that more or less worked for them. Yep…I do that. How often do I hear his voice and harden my heart? Do I pick and choose the aspects of his word that work for me and my moral compass and leave other less popular doctrines behind? What we learn from Hebrews 3 today is that Christ alone is sufficient for salvation. He is superior to our prophets and our priests. If today we hear his voice, we must open our hearts. The message may not feel comfortable.  It may not feel modern and we can count on the fact that it will challenge. God invites us to give ourselves completely to Christ and in return we will come to share in Christ.