That is why the Holy Spirit says, "Today when you hear His voice, don't harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested Me in the wilderness."
When God rescued the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, they had an intimate connection with Him. They saw Him at work when He brought the plagues against the Egyptians, when He parted the Red Sea, and then when He met with Moses on top of Mt. Sinai. They saw God show up in their midst and even after seeing His handiwork directly, they rebelled against Him. When Moses was gone too long on Mt. Sinai, they crafted an idol and began to worship false gods. A few weeks into their journey into the desert, they began to complain, and many of the Israelites wanted to go back to Egypt.
God was patient with the Israelites, but that patience had limits. God had clearly called the Israelites to enter into the Promised Land, but when given the opportunity, they refused to go. In the book of Numbers, we read the story about the Israelites starting a mutiny and calling for new leadership after the spies returned from the land. Upon hearing a bad report about giants in the land from ten of the twelve spies that returned, they conspired against Moses. This outright rebellion was too far for the people. God in His mercy doesn't kill all the people on the spot, but instead has them wander in the wilderness for forty years. What once was supposed to be a two-week journey has now become a forty year camping trip in the desert so that a full generation could die off, allowing their children to enter into the land. God gives the Israelites exactly what they wanted because of their rebellion.
When the author of Hebrews was thinking about the Holy Spirit and how some receive His instruction, he framed it back with the Israelites. When we hear God leading us and guiding us, we can't harden our hearts just as the Israelites did in the desert. We have to listen to God's instruction both through His Word and the Spirit's leading, and then we have to follow.
God doesn't force us to follow Him. All of us have a choice. Today, if you hear His voice, will you choose to follow?
God is always speaking through the Holy Spirit. He doesn't remain silent, but He is active in the lives of those who love Him. As you think through the ways that God is speaking to you, what is He saying to you right now? Is there any area of your life where you have hardened your heart to His voice? Take some time to think through how open you are to hearing God's voice. Ask God to lead you to invite a friend this weekend to one of our services and wait for Him to give you the name of a person who needs to come. See you at church this weekend!
Read Psalm 95:1-11 (NLT)
Come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
For the Lord is a great God,
a great King above all gods.
He holds in his hands the depths of the earth
and the mightiest mountains.
The sea belongs to him, for he made it.
His hands formed the dry land, too.
Come, let us worship and bow down.
Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,
for he is our God.
We are the people he watches over,
the flock under his care.
If only you would listen to his voice today!
The Lord says, “Don’t harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah,
as they did at Massah in the wilderness.
For there your ancestors tested and tried my patience,
even though they saw everything I did.
For forty years I was angry with them, and I said,
‘They are a people whose hearts turn away from me.
They refuse to do what I tell them.’
So in my anger I took an oath:
‘They will never enter my place of rest.’”