Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 19 September 2022:
1 Samuel 24:1-7 — Even fellow believers may encourage you to compromise your standards or take short cuts in order to accomplish goals or achieve success. However, true success always requires that the right things are done for the right reasons, in the right way, and at the right time. It takes great faith to wait on God’s timing, and it takes the leading of the Spirit to know how to rightly apply knowledge. Knowledge rightly applied is wisdom. Wisdom can come only from God.
1 Samuel 24:6 — “The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORD’s anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the LORD’s anointed.” David’s desire to honor the things of God outweighed his desire to overcome his adversaries, at least at this point in His life.
1 Samuel 24:12-15 — Wait on the Lord to avenge you when you are wronged. Only return good for evil. Again, it takes great faith to wait on the Lord. Consider your suffering to be a gift of love and sacrifice to God and to the offender.
1 Samuel 24:16-22 — David’s act of faith and mercy convicted Saul and changed Saul’s heart.
Hebrews 3:1, 2 — “Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house.” Consider Jesus today; consider His faithfulness to the cross; now, model His faithfulness today.
Hebrews 3:6 — “And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.”
- Will you confidently boast about Jesus today?
- Christians with faith and hope are known for their confidence and joy.
Hebrews 3:7, 8 — Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness…”
Today, you will be faced with decision points, whether you will do what God commands in a particular situation or whether you will do what is most comfortable, self-serving, or expedient. Don’t harden your heart. Do not resist the Holy Spirit’s conviction on your heart — obey! A failure to obey hardens your heart, making it harder for you to hear and obey the Spirit in the future.
Today’s readings have much to say about the relationship between the heart and obedience. Isaiah 26:7-10 describes the righteous who walk in the ways of His laws and wait for Him because He is the desire of their hearts. Meanwhile, the wicked reject the grace of God and continue to do evil because they “regard not the majesty of the Lord.” Their hearts have become hardened by their rebellion so that they have no perception of God. Hebrews says that when a person hears God’s Word and fails to obey it, that person’s heart becomes hardened because they have “turned away from the Living God.” The sin of disobedience comes from unbelief – ultimately, the sinner does not really believe that God is who God is (“I am who I am” – Exodus 3:14). The person who continues in sin cannot experience the peace, rest, and joy that comes from a harmonious relationship with the Lord – “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 3:18, 19).” Jesus said, “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete…. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you (the ways of God). You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other. (John 15:10-17).” Today’s readings from Hebrews say that we are to “encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness (Hebrews 3:13).” So, let me encourage you, as I remind myself, to grow in your faith by remaining obedient to God out of love (not fear, pride, or guilt) so that your joy may be complete. Wait on the Lord and walk in His ways as the desire of your heart today and every day.
Hebrews 3:10, 11 – Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, “They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.” As I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter my rest.”
Once again, you can’t enter God’s rest if you continually go astray. Walk with Jesus and remain in His rest.
Hebrews 3:12, 13 — Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 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.
The fight against temptation is a daily struggle that never ends and that requires your maximum effort. Also, it is a fight you shouldn’t fight alone. You need accountability partners in your life.
- Be very careful! Sin deceives you.
Hebrews 3:16 — For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses?
We must remember that most of the warnings in the Bible are not for unbelievers but rather for believers. Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep is a message to those who are already His but who have strayed away. The Israelites chose to take a leap of faith and follow Moses, but their faith quickly waned. It is not how you start the race that counts, it is how you finish. Run the race to get the prize — the prize is Jesus Himself.
Hebrews 3:19 – So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
If you stray, it is because of unbelief. All Christians are like the man in Mark 9:24 who said to Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief!” We need the power of the Holy Spirit to grow in our faith and obedience. Will power is never enough. You grow by growing closer to Jesus. Pray for a closer relationship with Jesus, seek Him earnestly. Don’t just focus on good behavior, focus on the Son. The more you love Him, the more faithful you will be naturally. As a Christian you are a new creation, but none of us have been perfected in love. “For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.” (James 3:2) “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So, we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (1 John 4:15-21) Your true belief in God and your true level of love for God will be revealed by how much you love others from your heart. If you have trouble loving others, particularly those who are hard to love, your problem is your relationship with Jesus. It is impossible not to love Jesus more and more if you are truly seeking to grow closer to Him, and if you are truly seeking Him, it will be impossible for you not to love others more and more. Consider your relationships today.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 19 September 2022: “Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house.” (Hebrews 3:1, 2) Consider Jesus today; consider His faithfulness to the cross; now, model His faithfulness today. “And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.” Hebrews 3:6) Confidently boast about Jesus today!