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).



In chapter 3, the author brings Moses into the presentation. To a Jew, Moses was one of the most influential men in all of history. Moses led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. In essence, Moses was a savior to their ancestors. The story of the Exodus was the foundational story in their history. The Torah was attributed to Moses' work. Moses was one very important fellow. But compared to Jesus, Moses doesn't hold a candle. The author is continuing to build a foundation of the supremacy of Jesus. Jesus is above all. Notice how the author doesn't just stop here, but how she then moves to instruction. She reminds the reader/hearer/us that those who followed Moses hardened their hearts toward God. Now that God has spoken to us through Christ, we must not harden our hearts...we must keep our hearts and minds soft and open to God's voice and will in our lives through Jesus.

How do our hearts become hard toward God? I know there are definite times in my life that I have turned away from the truth and hardened my heart toward God. What is it that moves us in this direction? And then, how do we return, how do we find ourselves moving back toward God's love in Jesus?



I'm not going to lie...Hebrews is a tough read. For starters, we aren't sure who wrote Hebrews (I love Rob's joke that whoever she was, she was brilliant.) and to whom it was written. Add to that the fact that the author's thought pattern is very different than ours, written to a culture very different from ours, and we have a book that makes us scratch our heads.

Have you ever been really, really excited about something revolutionizing your life? Maybe it was the clapper - a simple way to turn the lights on and off. Maybe it was that juicer you saw on late night tv - the way to a healthier lifestyle. Maybe it was a new boss or a new employee. You thought they were the answer to all your problems. A couple years ago, a book was released and marketed as THE way to get your children to eat vegetables. It wasn't difficult...blend them up and substitute them for other ingredients in food. We bought the book, the vegetables and the new blender. We thought it would fix our kids unhealthy eating habits. Let's just say that it didn't live up the the hype. The food was terrible. There is this tendancy that many of us have to get pumped about a product, only to find ourselves losing faith as time goes on. Such is the case with those Hebrews was written for. It was as if they started off strong and found themselves losing faith as time passed. The author wants to remind them, and build a strong foundation of who Jesus really is and why He came. Jesus isn't just a good man with some good teachings. He is above all things and life is found in Him alone.

Hebrews is built around one central theme: the sufficiency and centrality of Jesus Christ. It appears that the audience is questioning if Christ is God's final plan. They are wondering if there is more to it. And so the author begins a long, thoughtful presentation of who Christ really is and why He is God's only plan. As you read, keep in mind that the point is to help us see Christ at the center...not only of creation, but also of God's plan for humanity. This first two chapters build a case for the supremecy of Jesus.

What makes you scratch your head in these first two chapters?