Jul 30, 2023. Hebrews 3:16-19

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REJECTED BLESSING. Hebrews 3:16-19. 7/30/2023. #12.

16 For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? 17 Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

1. Sowing & Reaping

                a. Spiritual concepts are not that difficult to grasp

                                a1. Those who believe in Christ are saved & those who do not believe are lost

                                a2. Those who receive the message of God are blessed & those who reject are judged

                b. Hebrews asks 3 questions

                                a1. Who rebelled, even after they heard?

                                a2. Was it not those who sinned who died in the desert?

                                a3. To whom did God swear that they could not enter His rest in the Promised Land?

                c. The answers to the 3 questions are obvious

                                a1. All those (except a small few) who came out of Egypt rebelled

                                a2. It was the people who sinned against God who died in the wilderness

                                a3. God would not allow any of the rebellious generation (except Joshua & Caleb) to enter into His rest

                d. God cannot bless rebellion

                                a1. The people who stubbornly held onto sin & who refused to yield to God were punished

                                a2. God gave every opportunity for the Jews to understand His ways & will, & to obey

                                a3. God was careful to explain both the blessing of what He offered & consequence of rejecting the offer

2. Clearly seen, heard, & felt

                a. Jews clearly heard God’s direction & commands

                                a1. Provided the Law & detailed instructions

                                a2. Taught what they must & must not do

                                a3. Every aspect of life was covered in detail (worship, diet, Tabernacle, rank & order, prohibitions, civil law, leadership…)

                b. Jews saw the verifying miracles

                                a1. The plagues on Egypt, Moses’s rod turning into the serpent, death of the Egyptian

                                       firstborn sons…

                                a2. The Red Sea opened, Pharaoh’s army drowned, manna from heaven, water from rocks, defeat of Amalekites, manifestation of God on Mt. Sinai

                c. Jews clearly saw God’s anger

                                a1. Thousands were destroyed after the Golden Calf fiasco, rebellion against Moses & Aaron, complaining in the wilderness, the Baal Peor orgy…

                                a2. Yet, they still refused to repent

3. The anatomy of unbelief

                a. 2 kinds of unbelief

                                a1. Unbelief due to lack of evidence or desire

                                a2. Refusal to belief despite strong evidence

                b. The Jews had an abundance of strong evidence

                                a1. Saw the miracles & God leading them via a pillar of fire & cloud

                                a2. Heard His commands & saw His wrath

                c. To choose not to believe in the face of overwhelming evidence is not unbelief, but rebellion against God

                                a1. 1 SAM. 15:17-26 rebellion is as the sin of idolatry & stubbornness is as witchcraft

                                a2. Heb. warns that stubbornly holding onto OT Law was just like rebellion of Exodus Jews

                d. Rebellion in any form (holding onto false belief, sin, disobedience, bad habits…) is like idolatry

                e. God is gracious but still angry at sin (Eph. 4:30)

                f. Unbelief & disobedience are both rebellion

Key verse:  1 Samuel 15:17-26

17 So Samuel said, “When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the Lord anoint you king over Israel? 18 Now the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ 19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the Lord?”

20 And Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.”

22 So Samuel said:

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,

As in obeying the voice of the Lord?

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,

And to heed than the fat of rams.

23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,

And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.

Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,

He also has rejected you from being king.”

24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 25 Now therefore, please pardon my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord.”26 But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.”