Summary: The second in the series from Hebrews about the warnings.
CODE YELLOW ALLERT
Warning about ‘Unbelief’
* In the supplement of the Fredericksburg Bible, there is a story which is told in “first-person” by a preacher which goes like this. A wealthy merchant of Philadelphia, who would not listen to the gospel message in health, sent for me at his death-bed. I told him: "I have nothing now to tell you. You are a sinner, and here is a Savior. Do you feel your guilt, and will you take a Savior?" "No. There must be some better place than hell for a man of my respectability."
* It is sad to say, but this has become the modern day mantra which governs the hearts of many people. Suffice to say, this philosophy (along with other modern day philosophies) do not line up with the Bible. God word is quite clear about eternity for those who do not believe and offers us warnings. These warnings include unbelief in Jesus as savior as well as unbelief in the workings of God beyond salvation.
* Our text offers us two thoughts about unbelief.
1. THE WAY WE GO THROUGH LIFE – Our text refers to that familiar story of the Children of Israel’s exodus from Egypt. God had promised a land flowing with milk and honey and they were excited about the prospect of having a homeland. For over 400 years the Israelite people lived in Egypt under the oppressive hand of the Pharaohs and were excited about getting a HOME. Yet as He often does, God brought the Israelites to a place of decision, a place of testing to check on their “belief” in Him. God frequently does this to see if we have enough faith in Him and yet feel a sense of responsibility to Him. God had given them a promise, but somehow it never occurred to them that God expected them to believe in such a way that THEY would be involved in the work of taking the land. Candidly, He does the same in our lives and then He gives us a choice.
a. The Decisions we come to. – Nothing impacts us like our decisions. In verses 7-8 we see God pointing out the ‘bad’ decisions made by the Children of Israel. And this is where the difficulty starts. His call is for us to hear His voice and respond. When God speaks, He expects people to listen and respond to His voice. He expects us to respond, but He does give us a choice. When we don’t respond like they didn’t respond, it speaks of our unbelief in Him. Our decisions reveal our belief or unbelief. Today, “if” you hear His voice, don’t decide to harden your heart.
* If you do, you may well have the same out come the same way. They decided to be hard-hearted and disobey which God saw as rebellion resulting in a 40 year death walk. They were literally “dead men walking. With their rebellious decision they began a journey from which they would never return. Wonder how many times ‘our’ disobedience toward our Heavenly Father is seen as rebellion.
* Our decisions chart our course through life and the dangers we face.
b. The Dangers we walk through. – Candidly, the danger for a believer is frightening. If we yield to the temptations which our enemy places before us we will fail the test God places in our lives and as a result provoke God to anger. Think about the inherent dangers in this scenario. First, Satan gets his hooks in us because he lays out the bait, sets the trap, and pull us in. Anytime we succumb to him, it affects who we are, what we think, and what we do. King David is a prime example. Once he succumbed to the temptation to remain in Jerusalem he was on a greased banister sliding into the abyss of disobedience. Satan has his hooks in David and didn’t want to let go. And didn’t let go until forced to turn loose.
* Next, consider that if we fail God’s test of our faith (that is, our belief), it will anger God. In the 21st century many refuse to belief that God gets angry, because after all, God is love. Yet, the Bible tells us that our God’s character is the same “yesterday, today, and forever.” If this is true, why does the Old Testament record over 30 times God referring to “My Anger” and another 3 dozen times to “The Lord’s Anger” or “God’s Anger.” In several places the Bible uses the term “burning anger.” I submit that we don’t want to anger God because it could be dangerous. Very little seems to anger God like unbelief. One of the many reasons is that God designed Heaven for His crown creation who believes. To not respond in belief to Him is to make the wrong choice.