Key verses 12-19
12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 15 while it is said:
“Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
16 For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? 17 Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
Back in Exodus, the first generation of Israelites who came out of Egypt with Moses struggled to believe God. This lack of belief, or “unbelief”, cost them the Promised Land. God kept them in the wilderness until they died off before allowing the next generation to go in. We are warned no to make the same mistake.
God has always wanted one thing – for people to believe Him. We see the example in Genesis 15:6 that when God made a promise to Abraham, “Abraham believed God, and was accounted unto him for righteousness.” Abraham did nothing more than believe God. There was no law for him to keep perfectly. He made many mistakes and errors in judgement. But God didn’t count any of that against him. Abraham was counted righteous simply because he believed God.
On the other hand, the Israelites didn’t believe God. This is amazing because they witnessed the mighty works that God performed to get them out of Egypt. They walked through the sea on dry land! But they wouldn’t commit to believing God. They kept complaining and looking back to Egypt. An incredible Promised Land awaited them, yet they never made it there because they just wouldn’t believe God.
It sounds crazy and we could make a mistake of being judgemental about them. But we face challenges every day about whether we will believe God, and I confess that I don’t always rise to those challenges. I need reminders like today’s passage to draw me back to the truth and hold me accountable for what I’m focusing on.
The deceitfulness of sin is really the deceitfulness of not trusting God. We trust ourselves, other people, and systems that the world has created. Things seem to make sense until they don’t work out the way we thought. Maybe the system worked to accomplish one thing, but unintended consequences wrecked something else. Maybe you made a lot of money but destroyed your marriage.
The deceitfulness of sin boils down to trusting someone or something more than we trust God. Since this temptation is ever present, “let us exhort one another daily.” Be encouraged! God’s Kingdom has everything that you need. Brave grace, and discover the Promised Land of His abundant supply!