Harden Not Your Heart


There is something about the Letter to the Hebrews that most people don’t know.  It isn’t a letter.  It used to be called “A Letter from Saint Paul to the Hebrews”  or “The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews, but those titles proved to be even less accurate.  Not only is it not a letter, but it wasn’t written by Saint Paul and it wasn’t directed toward the Hebrews. In fact, today’s first reading from Hebrews was written in the mid to late first century and was intended as theological instruction for the early Christian communities.  The passage we read today is an exhortation that encourages us to discern God’s will for our lives.

The Holy Spirit says:
Oh, that today you would hear his voice,
“Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion
in the day of testing in the desert,
where your ancestors tested and tried me
and saw my works for forty years.
Because of this I was provoked with that generation
and I said, ‘They have always been of erring heart,
and they do not know my ways.’
As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter into my rest.’”

Take care, brothers and sisters,
that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart,
so as to forsake the living God.
Encourage yourselves daily while it is still “today,”
so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin.
We have become partners of Christ
if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end.

Sometimes God asks us to do things that make us uncomfortable.  He may call us to heal a relationship that we would rather leave unresolved, if resolving that relationship would require us to share in some responsibility for its brokenness. He may ask us to take the risk of proclaiming his word to those who do not want to hear it.

If today you hear His voice, harden not your heart!

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