Chapter 3 begins with an invitation;
An invitation from God to share in his Holy presence.
Jesus as our high priest is far greater than the high priests of Moses, as only the designated high priest was able to enter in to the Holy of Holies. Through Jesus we are now invited in to that special place with Him because of the work that he did. Jesus is worthy of greater honour than Moses as he is the “builder” of the house. We simply become part of it as Moses did but as seen in chapter 2, we have a far greater promise in Jesus than the Israelites did.
However, we are warned not to become stubborn or as some translations put it “harden our hearts”
If you hear God’s voice today, do not be stubborn, as your ancestors were when they rebelled against God, as they were that day in the desert when they put him to the test.
There they put me to the test and tried me, says God, although they had seen what I did for forty years.
And so I was angry with those people and said ‘They are always disloyal and refuse to obey my commands.’
I was angry and made a solemn promise: ‘They will never enter the land where I would have given them rest’ (v 7 – 11 & Psalm 95 v 7-11)
The Israelites suffered because of their stubbornness and refusal to follow Moses and trust God. Consequently they did not enter that promised land and we are warned in the same way that if we do not obey Gods commands and trust him wholeheartedly we may not enter the land that he has promised us. Our hearts are always going astray as we are constantly drawn into the world around us just as the Israelites looked around at other nations and saw their lifestyles and gods which looked so glamorous and tempting. Or they wanted to go back to their old lives which seems so much better in their rose tinted memories, forgetting how much they cried out to God to rescue them. They were looking at the past or the present instead on focusing on God and what he had promised them. As a result they lost everything and wandered around aimlessly for years.
David wrote in Psalm 119 vs 9 to 11;
How can young people keep their lives pure? By obeying your commands. With all my heart I try to serve you; keep me from disobeying your commandments. I keep your law in my heart so that I will not sin against you.
It is not just David as a young man or just young people who need to apply this to their lives. I’m inclined to think that we tend to get even more stubborn and set in our ways as we get older and need to keep ourselves immersed in Gods word to help us to stay on track.
So in verse 12, the writer says;
My fellow believers, be careful that no one among you has a heart so evil and unbelieving as to turn away from the living God.
We are to encourage and help each other. This message is considered to be so important that it is repeated in verse 15
If you hear Gods voice today, do not be stubborn, as your ancestors were when they rebelled against God
The people that rebelled were the same ones that had seen God move in miraculous ways. They had been given the Law and received the promises of a new land and life but they refused to believe and so God excluded them.
Have you stopped believing in something that God has promised you? Its hard to keep trusting. God is faithful and will fulfill his promises to you.
God is not like men, who lie; He is not a human who changes his mind.
Whatever he promises, he does. He speaks and it is done. (Numbers 23 v 19)
We must hold firmly to that promise until the end, just as we did in the beginning.
Quotes from Good News Bible