I thoughts this portion of our Proverbs passage was rather fitting for today - being April Fools Day and all.....
Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I am only joking!” Proverbs 26:18-19
Good natured teasing is fun, but mocking, deceiving, and making fun of others is not. There is a huge difference between the two, and we need to make sure we stay on the right side of that line.
The verse that really stood out to me was.....
Proverbs 25:28 A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls
Alexander Maclaren expanded upon these 3 points in his sermon, but it's summarized pretty well in his introduction....
My thoughts on Hebrews come from some of my previous posts....
Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast. Hebrews 3:1-6
Moses was truly a great man. He led the Israelites from Egyptian bondage to the edge of the Promised Land, he was given the law by God, he wrote the first five books of the Old Testament, he was a prophet, he was a prayer warrior who interceded on the people's behalf so God would not destroy them.
But Moses was still only a human servant.
Jesus is more than just human. He is also God himself. And He is the One on whom our faith rests, giving us the courage and hope to live out our faith daily.
So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” Hebrews 3:7-11
No matter how many miracles God performed, no matter how faithful He was, the Israelites hardened their hearts over and over again. And so they missed out on the Promised Land. If we resist God's will over and over again, we will eventually harden our hearts and miss out on the rest God wants for us - spiritual rest in this lifetime, and eternity to come.
One thing that stood out to me was "Today". Today! Recognize God's voice, resist the hardening of your heart - today! Now is the time. We do not know when Christ will return. And we do not know at what point our continual bad choices will result in the hardening of our hearts. Our opportunity to repent is now...today!
See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” Hebrews 3:12-15
There's a few tips in here about remaining faithful.
One is to recognize sin's deceitfulness - it can be attractive, but it is destructive.
Another is to encourage each other. Fellowship with other believers is vitally important for our own walk, and to encourage others in their walk.
And again, the urgency of "today". It never pays to put off strengthening our spiritual lives. There is no better moment to start then today, this very moment.
Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. Hebrews 3:16-19
The Israelites failed to enter the promised land because they didn't believe in God's protection and ability to help them conquer the giants of the land. They sinned due to their unbelief.
What are you not believing God for today?
How I am sinning due to unbelief?
God has always been faithful and trustworthy. He has never given us a reason for unbelief. Don't rely on your own faulty, human knowledge and understanding. Rely on our God who knows everything and trust in His promises.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Proverbs 27-29; Hebrews 4