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Obey God Today

Hebrews 4:6-7
Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, God again set a certain day, calling it 'Today'. This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: 'Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.' (NIVUK)

Some people habitually delay taking action. For reasons of busyness or fear, unbelief or pride, some good is never done, some commands are never obeyed and some people never continue to trust in Jesus. The Israelites' wilderness journey is an example, to us all, of how we should not respond to God's Word (1 Corinthians 10:6). Although many may hear God's voice, only those who believe it will enter God's promised rest (Hebrews 4:2).

God provided Pharaoh with multiple opportunities to submit to his command. Initially, the Egyptian ruler hardened his own heart but then God hardened his heart further. God also provided His own people with multiple opportunities to trust Him but they hardened their hearts. The writer of this letter sees an invisible but a critical point of no return, and warns his readers to respond to God's Word, 'Today'. There is no safety in leaving obedience until tomorrow. Tomorrow may never come, and yesterday's divine call may never find an open ear or soft heart again.

Saying 'No' to God is profoundly unwise. Repeatedly, habits may seal a destiny. God's words of wisdom demand a daily response, a habit of loving relationship. Hebrews 3:12-13 says, "See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called 'Today', so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." Not only is 'Today' our only opportunity for action; it is the only time to encourage your brothers and sisters to turn away from wickedness and trust the Lord.

The Lord's mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-24), stimulated by His great and unlimited love for us. He withholds His judgement so that we might repent, but His patience is not unlimited. To rebel is to harden our hearts, but to obey is to reciprocate His love and further soften our hearts. The time for that is 'Today'. There is no other time. Psalm 95 which is repeatedly quoted in Hebrews, chapters 3 and 4, sets the urgency for the whole letter: "Today, if you hear His voice do not harden your hearts". Although the Psalm, in David's hymn book, addressed the people a thousand years before Christ, the Hebrews' writer applied it to his generation and ours, because God's promised rest is still ahead of us. Heaven is yet to come. The destination is certain only if we travel, trusting Jesus until we meet Him face to face. So, let us take action today. The Lord has spoken; let us respond by saying 'yes' and doing 'yes' … and doing it 'Today'.

God of time and eternity. Thank You for 'Today' in which You speak and act. Forgive me for straining Your patience by habitually hardening my heart and deferring obedience. Change my heart and help me to take practical steps to show my love for You, trusting You to lead me onwards through this life until You give me rest in Your presence. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams