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.”
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 3:12-19)
We have an epidemic of heart disease in our society today. Unfortunately, it is seldom diagnosed properly, and the cure is a very simple remedy. Yes, while an entire medical empire exists today armed with expensive drugs and equipment to manage high blood pressure and heart problems in the physical realm, a far deadlier disease rages out of control threatening to destroy your very existence: the disease of an unbelieving, hardened heart.
We saw in previous devotionals how this disease wiped out an entire generation within the nation of Israel, as their dead bodies were buried in the sands of the desert outside of the “Promised Land.” These former slaves who had been miraculously rescued from the mighty King Pharaoh and his army just could not overcome their hardened hearts of unbelief to receive all the good things God had in store for them in the Promised Land, a land flowing with “milk and honey” rich in natural resources that did not exist in Egypt. They continued to act like oppressed, miserable slaves, and their heart disease eventually led them to their graves in the desert. They could never accept the remedy for their disease, which was to simply believe that God had rescued them and delivered them out of slavery, and had made them into a nation more blessed and more prosperous than the nations that were currently living in the Promised Land. Their hearts were too hard, and the heart disease was too advanced, so that they missed out on being able to enter the land that God had already promised to them.
This same condition of heart disease exists today, as the writer of Hebrews warns us: See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. (Hebrews 3:12) Today, it is not the Promised Land that God is offering to us. It is a place in his eternal kingdom, currently setup in the spiritual realm where Jesus rules. The physical kingdom will be established later, after the current earth and heavens are destroyed. But we can enter the spiritual kingdom right now, by being born again spiritually through faith. Once we are reborn, we receive a new heart: “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26) The prophets in the Old Testament looked forward to our day, the day when Christ would come and redeem God’s people through his sacrificial death on the cross and setup the new kingdom.
They referred to this time as the time of the “New Covenant.” The “Old Covenant” was given through Moses, and included the extensive written law as recorded in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The New Covenant, by contrast, allows us to have a direct relationship with God through the Holy Spirit, where God’s laws are now written on our new hearts and in our minds:
For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. For he finds fault with them when he says: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. (Hebrews 8:7-13)
So the remedy for this current epidemic of heart disease is the same as it was for the Israelites who came out of Egypt: faith. An unbelieving and hard heart must be replaced by a heart that trusts and believes in God. We learned in the a previous devotional that without faith, it is impossible to please God. We please God by believing in him (and having a healthy view of God as was written about in this devotional), and by believing that he rewards all who sincerely seek him. The difference under the New Covenant is that we can have a new heart – a heart transplant that gives us new life! This spiritual heart transplant is MUCH more valuable than a physical heart transplant, because a new physical heart (or repaired heart) will still wear out. But a new spiritual heart will live forever! Fixing physical hearts is big business today, and people are often willing to spend all they have to fix their physical hearts which will only prolong physical death for a very short moment in the eternal scope of things. How sad that spiritual heart disease is much more epidemic today, and with much greater consequences. Unfortunately, so few are willing to spend the time to fix their spiritual hearts which will have eternal benefit as opposed to momentary benefit. Expensive man-made medicines and technology cannot heal a spiritually hardened heart. Faith is the cure, and it is free.
What is the condition of YOUR heart today? Is a spiritual heart transplant your last hope?
Learn how you can have a spiritual heart transplant here.
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:7-12)
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)