Discussion Guide - Hebrews 3:7-19
Monday: Hebrews 3:7-19
Tuesday: Psalm 95
Wednesday: Hebrews 3:12-13; 10:24-25
Thursday: Hebrews 3:16-19; Numbers 14:1-38
Friday: Hebrews 3:16-19; Deuteronomy 9
Christians should avoid making the same mistakes Israel made in the wilderness.
In Hebrews 3:1-6, the author compared Moses and Jesus. Now he compares the people each of them led. He shows that Christians living in these “last days” (1:2) are in a similar spot that the Israelites were in the wilderness - free from slavery but not yet home:
Free from slavery Egypt Sin; death
Heading home Promised Land (Canaan) New heavens; new earth
Life in-between Wilderness The present evil age
After being rescued from slavery, the Israelites started out well, singing praises to God who rescued them (Exodus 15:1-21). But when their new life turned out to be harder than they expected, they grew bitter, complained, and eventually rebelled against God.
Psalm 95 reflects on this. It begins with a call to worship God and concludes with a warning (quoted here in Hebrews) against worship that doesn’t spring from an obedient and sincere heart toward God, the model of which is the Israelites in the wilderness.
Writing to Jewish Christians who were tempted to give up on their faith, the author means for this comparison to land hard. If the Israelites who grumbled and gave up weren’t allowed to enter the Promised Land, those of us today who profess to follow Jesus should “hold our original confidence firm to the end” (3:14), lest we be forbidden from entering the new earth Jesus is leading us to.
But the road there is long. Each day is filled with new challenges to our faith, and sometimes God doesn’t work the way we think he should. In such a “wilderness”, Christians can’t thrive in isolation. Perseverance is a group project (3:12-13). We need daily encouragement and exhortation from other believers, just as they need ours. Only together will we find strength to press on to the home God is bringing us to.
What are you prone to complain about in your life? What kinds of circumstances tend to make you grumble? How might unchecked grumbling affect your relationship with God and others?
How have you seen the importance of community in your own life?
What are some practical ways you can exhort other believers this week? What kind of encouragement are you in need of from others?
Hebrews 3:13 – “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
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