See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has an evil, unbelieving heart that forsakes the living God. But exhort one another each day, as long as it is called “Today,” that none of you may become hardened by sin’s deception. For we have become partners with Christ, if in fact we hold our initial confidence firm until the end. – Hebrews 3:12-14
If you were to open my Bible you would see what I wrote next to today’s verses: “I pray my children’s hearts will always be tender towards God.” I have prayed this prayer over my girls for years as I’ve put them to bed at night as well as when I’ve prayed over each of them privately.
Now is the time we need to be praying this prayer not only for our own children, but for everyone else’s children, from one day old to one-hundred years old. This is a prayer meant to be prayed over each of us who still has the blessing of another day.
It is important to understand the background to this passage to see how it applies to us today. The nation of Israel miraculously left their land of slavery in Egypt and were walking toward their long awaited promise land. God delivered His people and preformed incredible miracles right before their very eyes. God parted the Jordan River for Israel so they could walk across on dry land. He saved them from the Egyptian army who was quickly approaching them to kill them. God went before them as a cloud by day and fire by night. His manna fell from the sky daily to feed them. All their needs were taken care of by God and yet…
“Israel saw all of this and benefited from it, but the experience did not bring them closer to God or make them trust Him more. All that God did for them did not benefit them spiritually. In fact, just the opposite took place: They hardened their hearts against God! They put God to the test and He did not fail them, yet they failed Him.”- Warren Wiersbe
We can be tempted to read about the Israelite’s failure and think “How in the world could these people do such a thing? Look at all God had done for them? How could they doubt He would not continue to protect them?” And yet, we are in danger of doing the very same thing. God has been good to each of us. He has performed miracles in our lives and yet we are tempted to doubt His goodness, His love and His provision. I know I do.
I am a modern-day Israelite. God continues to provide for my needs and answer my prayers, yet I continue to find myself tempted to fear when He calls me to cross the “River of Jordans” in my life. Many times I feel content to stay in my “Egypts,” my lands of slavery, because they are what I know.
We were not made for lands of slavery but lands of freedom.
How do we guard against hardening our hearts and becoming another hardhearted generation of God’s children, not willing to cross into Canaan for fear of what we might face, forgetting God’s promises and His faithfulness through the years?
- We fight against temptations of unbelief.
- We make time for fellowship with other believers.
- We encourage each other in our faith.
- We memorize God’s promises and believe His Word.
- We stay aware of the deceitfulness of sin.
- We love well.
Friends, now is the time to stand on the promises of God. Now is the time to show a watching world we do not cower to fear but instead boldly step forward in faith knowing our God is with us. He has shown His faithfulness in the past and He will continue to be faithful to us in the present and future. He is with us. May we learn from the Israelites and not make their mistake. May we guard our hearts from the sin of unbelief and courageously walk into our tomorrows knowing God is at our side.
Love God Greatly!
Week 2 Challenge:
Hebrews 4:16 reminds us we are able to approach God with confidence because He is always waiting to meet us with mercy and grace. Each day this week, commit to spending five minutes, outside of your normal prayer time, approaching God’s throne as you would approach a king or a president. With the same fear and expectation, lay your requests before Him, acknowledging Him as the only One truly able to meet your need. Record the ways God answers your petitions.
Week 2 Reading Plan:
Week 2 Memory Verse: