Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Hebrews 3:6-13
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Hebrews 3:6
Verse 6 (continued): By comparing Jesus and Moses over these past six verses (3:1-6) the author is introducing the overarching theme which he will develop in chapters four through ten. Here he will show how specific elements of the Law of Moses were intended to prophetically foretell the ministry of Christ. He will amplify the simple statement he made in verse five, “…Moses was faithful… as a servant for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later” (Heb 1:1, 2). One by one he will reveal Christ in the central institutions of Judaism: the Sabbath, the priesthood, the covenant, the tabernacle, the blood and the Holy of holies. His purpose throughout will be to convince the reader that Jesus Christ is not the founder of a new religion, but rather the Savior for whom Judaism has always been waiting (Col 2:16, 17).

Monday: Hebrews 3:6
Verse 6 (continued): Placed throughout the book of Hebrews are warnings against the danger of abandoning Christ. Beginning in verse six and running through verse 19 the author will use the story of the Exodus to illustrate that it is possible for a person to start out with God but “fall away” before actually arriving at the goal of salvation. In this verse he opens the subject by saying that in order to belong to God’s family (“house”) we must “hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.” The “end,” as he will make clear in chapter 11 (Heb 11:13-16), is our death or the return of Christ (1Th 4:15-17), whichever comes first. A believer must persevere in faith until he or she sees Christ face to face. We must continue to be confident that He is our Savior and joyfully proclaim the wonders of eternal life that await us. To abandon Him before we die is to be like those who perished in the wilderness without arriving at the promised land.

Tuesday: Hebrews 3:7, 8
Verse 7: Rather than turning to the book of Exodus itself, the author summarizes Israel’s failure in the wilderness using five verses selected from Psalm 95 (Ps 95: 7-11). He introduces this passage with the words “Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says…” meaning that God intended this warning to speak to every generation. Israel’s example illustrates an abiding principle. It should not be thought of as an isolated event.Verse 8: The Psalm says believers should refuse to harden their hearts toward God like most of Israel did when they faced hardships (Ps 95:8; Ex 17:1-7). It’s important to note that by warning us not to repeat their mistake the author of Hebrews obviously believes we are capable of choosing to obey or not obey, otherwise such a warning would have no meaning. So it is human beings, not God, who are responsible for hardening their own hearts, though there can be extreme cases where God withdraws from someone who has a longstanding history of willfully refusing Him (Ex 9:34-10:1; Ro 1:24, 26, 28). Instead of trustfully turning to God in prayer when they ran out of water (Ps 95:8; Ex 17:1-7) Israel let themselves grow bitter toward Him, angrily questioning His faithfulness (Ex 17:7).

Wednesday: Hebrews 3:9-11
Verse 9: Over and over again as each opportunity to exercise faith arose, Israel’s response was to doubt God rather than believe His promises, until at last He let that generation die without entering the land He had promised them (Nu 14:20-23). What should have been a journey through the wilderness of about 15 months (Ex 12:2; 40:17; Nu 10:11, 12; Dt 1:2), turned into 40 years, and even during those sad years while the old generation died God continued to provide manna, water, the pillar of cloud and fire, along with numerous other miracles. Yet, none of these wonders changed their attitude toward Him. They saw themselves as hostages to an angry God, not slaves who had been rescued and were being molded into a great nation. Every hardship was thought to be evidence of God’s failure, not an opportunity for a miracle. Verses 10, 11: So God angrily withdrew His promise to bring them to a beautiful land where they could rest from their wanderings and live in safety from their enemies.

Thursday: Hebrews 3:12
Verse 12: The author of Hebrews now warns his readers that the hardness which afflicted the Exodus generation can still afflict Christians. There is a strong similarity between the Exodus and the Christian life. Just as Moses was sent to liberate the Hebrew slaves from Egypt and lead them to the promised land, Jesus has been sent to liberate those enslaved to Satan and lead them to heaven (actually, a new heaven and earth; Rev 21:1-4). Just as Israel needed to trust God during their years in the wilderness, Christians need to trust Jesus Christ during their years on earth. To stop trusting Him before we die will disqualify us from entering the final place of God’s eternal rest.

Friday: Hebrews 3:12
Verse 12 (continued): He warns “brethren” in this verse, not unbelievers (Heb 2:11, 12, 17; 3:1). It is us that he warns not to have “an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.” By using the word “evil” we realize it’s possible for Christians to deliberately choose to doubt Christ’s promises and let each hardship make us bitter rather than prayerful. He does not say how many of these “evil” choices are required to carry a heart across that threshold, but Israel’s example shows us it’s a process involving many decisions. Thankfully it’s not the result of momentary foolishness. The words “fall away” can sound like someone has accidentally ended up in jeopardy, as if they stumbled and were carried away by forces too great to resist. But the clear reference to the Exodus corrects this misconception. What they did to “fall away” was a prolonged series of deliberate, repeated choices to become bitter at God. Their sin wasn’t grumbling at God, it was grumbling at God over and over again until their capacity to trust Him died altogether (Nu 14:11, 22-24, 27-35).

Saturday: Hebrews 3:13
Verse 13: An important antidote for this disease of unbelief is offered here. A person who is growing bitter at God should not be left to struggle alone. They need encouragement from other believers to escape the spiritual deception which has gripped them. Sin often begins with deception but it also produces deception. In other words, each time I sin deception gains a deeper hold on me because the Holy Spirit will attempt to bring me to repentance, and unless I intend to do so I must silence His inner voice in order to find relief from His “grieving” (Eph 4:30). Unless this hardening process is interrupted by repentance it produces a vicious cycle of sin, hardness and further sin. To stop this believers must “encourage one another day after day…,” meaning we should pray for each other, remind each other of the truth and call someone who is becoming hardened to repentance. Certainly this should be done when someone is in crisis, but also in an ongoing way to prevent such crises. All types of sin behave this same way, but we must keep in mind that here the author of Hebrews is addressing a particular sin: that of “falling away from the living God” (v 12). Simply put, this means abandoning one’s faith in Jesus.

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