Thursday 10 April, 2014
7 The Holy Spirit says, “Listen to his voice today. 8 If you hear it, don’t be stubborn. You were stubborn when you opposed me. You did that when you were put to the test in the desert. 9 There your people of long ago put me to the test. For 40 years they saw what I did. 10 That is why I was angry with them. I said, ‘Their hearts are always going down the wrong path. They have not known my ways.’ 11 So in my anger I took an oath. I said, ‘They will never enjoy the rest I planned for them.’” (Psalm 95:7–11) 12 Brothers and sisters, make sure that none of you has a sinful heart. Do not let an unbelieving heart turn you away from the living God. 13 But build one another up every day. Do it as long as there is still time. Then none of you will become stubborn. You won’t be fooled by sin’s tricks. 14 We belong to Christ if we hold firmly to the faith we had at first. But we must hold to it until the end. 15 It has just been said, “Listen to his voice today. If you hear it, don’t be stubborn. You were stubborn when you opposed me.” (Psalm 95:7,8) 16 Who were those who heard and refused to obey? Weren’t they all the people Moses led out of Egypt? 17 Who was God angry with for 40 years? Wasn’t it with those who sinned? They died in the desert. 18 What people did God promise with an oath that they would never enjoy the rest he planned for them? Wasn’t it those who didn’t obey? 19 So we see that they weren’t able to enter. That’s because they didn’t believe.
The first thing that grabs me about this passage is that it attributes the writing of Psalm 95 to the Holy Spirit. For me, this is encouraging as I believe that the entire Bible is written under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The words here are so clear- “the Holy Spirit says.”
Next, the author of Hebrews builds an argument to warn us not to fall away from the faith and he uses this Psalm about those who escaped Egypt as an example. This passage also reminds me of the parable of the sower in Mathew 13.
Thinking through the comparison that the author draws here, it is such a daunting notion that our faith can be so fragile at times and our tendency to harden our hearts is so strong that we can actually risk our eternal future by failing to stay pliable and soft-hearted.
What does it mean to be soft-hearted. For me it is all about being able to admit your mistakes and be corrected. As Martin Luther stated in the first line of the letter he nailed to the door of the church in Wittenburg “All of a Christians life is one of repentance”.
Written by Ps. Justin Ware
To your question “What does it mean to be soft-hearted?” v13 adds the instruction to “build one another up every day”. This is also translated “encourage each other daily”.
There is something about encouraging another person in their faith that bring life and vitality to your own faith. The new testament greek word for ‘encourage’ is parakaleó which means to “stand beside” and “call out”. This is a perfect description of what a coach does.
‘parakaleó is strongly linked to the word ‘paraklétos’ which is used in John14:16 and means advocate or helper. In this case it refers to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.