The writer of Hebrews wants to get a point across, quoting Ps. 95:7-8 three times in chapters 3 and 4. The point is simply this, “Do not harden your hearts.”
Chapter four deals with a Sabbath Rest for the people of God.
Remember, the book of Hebrews was probably written to… Hebrews.
When they were slaves in Egypt, these Hebrews worked 7 days a week. They did not have a day off; they did not have a Sabbath. Can you imagine doing manual labor every single day, with no day to rest, no day to look forward to? When the Hebrews left Egypt, God reestablished the Sabbath (Exodus 20). It was a day for the Hebrews to rest, rejuvenate, worship, and NOT work.
In Egypt they were slaves, suffering oppression, mastered by someone else. But the Sabbath meant living outside of Egypt… outside of oppression… outside of slavery.
After working 7 days each week, a day to rest would have meant God’s blessing.
The Sabbath meant the freedom to rest in the presence of God.
And the promise of entering his rest still stands (Heb. 4:1). Because in Christ, we now live outside of Egypt.
And what keeps us from entering rest, relationship, and intimacy with God? It starts slowly with the hardening of our hearts. Even after these people left Egypt, many of them wanted to go back, grumbled against God, and let their hearts be led astray.
The hardening of hearts has happened in the past to God’s people, and it could happen again.
What does it mean to harden your heart? What causes it? What does it lead to?
In what ways does chapter 4 warn you? Challenge you? Inspire you?
So, may you hear the voice of God today, and may you not harden your hearts (vs. 7).