Daily Devotion Friday 5th July 2024

Hebrews 3 (with OT quotes in italics)
 
Therefore, brothers and sisters, holy partners in a heavenly calling, consider that Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses also ‘was faithful in all God’s house.’ Yet Jesus is worthy of more glory than Moses, just as the builder of a house has more honour than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that would be spoken later. Christ, however, was faithful over God’s house as a son, and we are his house if we hold firm the confidence and the pride that belong to hope.

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
      ‘Today, if you hear his voice,
8     do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
      as on the day of testing in the wilderness,
9     where your ancestors put me to the test,
      though they had seen my works 10 for forty years.
      Therefore I was angry with that generation,
      and I said, “They always go astray in their hearts,
      and they have not known my ways.”
11    As in my anger I swore,
      “They will not enter my rest.”’

12 Take care, brothers and sisters, that none of you may have an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today’, so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partners of Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said,
      ‘Today, if you hear his voice,
      do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.’
16 Now who were they who heard and yet were rebellious? Was it not all those who left Egypt under the leadership of Moses? 17 But with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, if not to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
 
Reflection

Two images inform this third chapter of Hebrews. The church is a house, and life is a journey. Both take the reader back to Moses.
 
Moses was ‘faithful as a servant in all God’s house’ (vv.2, 5). This line in Numbers 12:7 emerged during a crisis on the Exodus journey. The people’s resolve was wavering. There were challenges and anxieties in the company, rather than the confidence of pilgrims. But God still backed Moses as leader. Now Hebrews takes up this text and calls Jesus ‘faithful as a son’ (v.6) – not cancelling or erasing the role that Moses had taken, but fulfilling and completing it.
 
For Hebrews calls the church ‘God’s house’ – made of living stones, we might say. But this is a mobile home. To live in it is a calling and a challenge. The Exodus image speaks of pilgrimage and persistence, in partnership with Christ the pioneer and prototype (vv.1, 14). Stay confident, says the letter (vv.6, 14). Keep believing (vv.12, 19). Press on.
 
The long quotation, in verses 7-11 and 15, is from Psalm 95. This psalm includes a solemn warning, not to repeat the mistakes that many of the Exodus people made. And Hebrews takes up this warning, to urge the readers to maintain their commitment to Jesus. There is a ‘rest’ ahead – promised land for the Exodus generation, heaven for the readers of Hebrews – if they will only keep going and stay faithful. Indeed this theme of ‘rest’ will be a major focus of chapter 4.
 
A home and a journey. Christian living involves two kinds of faithfulness, which belong together: personal companionship, with one another as a holy community; and persevering commitment, on the rocky road of pilgrim discipleship. We are in this mobile home together, called to help one another travel forward.
 
Prayer

God of this day’s journey,
    with its companions and its obstacles,
    please help us
    to support one another on the Christian way,
    to lift each other when we are weary,
    to look steadily forward,
    and to persist in walking with Jesus.

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