January 14 I Tuesday
“And to whom did God swear that they would never enter His rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.”
The story of the Exodus is the most repeated story in all of Scripture. The writer of Hebrews recaps it briefly to remind the people not to fall into the same trap as their ancestors did. With the exception of Joshua and Caleb, the first generation of Israelites were miraculously released from Egyptian bondage, marched into freedom, but never made it into the Promised Land because of their unbelief.
We can fall into the same trap where we trust God has brought us out of our sin, which the coming out of Egypt represents, but we do not trust God to bring us into the Promised Land, symbolic of the fullness of Christ. We are still living our own way, showing more faith in ourselves than we have in God. The sad thing about the Israelites was that with every difficulty and obstacle, they rebelled, complained and stopped listening to God. Their hearts became hardened, and a hardened heart becomes a wayward, unbelieving heart that can reach the point of becoming deafened to God.
The message in Hebrews is full of warnings. Do not harden your heart; do not fall away; do not be guilty of unbelief; do not carry on sinning and do not miss the provision of God. The Christian life is lived in utter dependence and trust in God, which the Israelites fell away from again and again. Instead of entering the full sufficiency and rest of God, they wandered the desert for 40 years. Hebrews 3:10-11 records God’s judgment: “That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known My ways.’ So I declared on oath in My anger, ‘They shall never enter My rest.’” Tragically, theirs was a dead-end journey that died in the wilderness.
God’s purpose in bringing His people out of Egypt was not to get the slave masters off their backs, great as that was, but to get them back to Canaan where He would restore them to the purpose for which He had set Abraham apart centuries before. In the land of milk and honey, they would have everything they need made available to them, and become a blessing to the world by the coming of the Messiah through their descendants.
Coming out of Egypt was a means to an end, just as coming out of our sin is a means to an end. The end is not salvation, as great as that is, but the lesson from Exodus is coming into the fullness of Christ, where we may rest in His sufficiency, and by the work of His Spirit, become a blessing to others.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for bringing me out of my sin. Help me to rest in your sufficiency and make me a blessing to others. Praise You, Lord Jesus.