Stir Up the Right Attitude, Or Die In the Wilderness
Dear Family, as I was making an effort to look into God’s Eyes this morning, I came away with these thoughts in Hebrews 2-3 about the attitude that we must cultivate in order to find Jesus and His Rest, rather than to die in the wilderness of self-destructive pride, envy, and negative thinking (unbelief and lack of love). None of us MUST die in the wilderness. We can inherit the full riches of Caleb and Joshua, if we CHOOSE to have the right attitude in moments or seasons of testing and difficulty.
Certainly LOGIC was on the side of the ten unbelieving “leaders” of God’s People that were sent to “spy out the Land”—but they were condemned by God for not seeing past “logic.” Let’s “see to it brothers” that none of those in our midst miss the Rest and come under the heel of “the destroying angel” (1Cor. 10) because of a secret attitude that does not glorify God or demonstrate unfailing Love and Faith.
Notice the following phrases in the two translations of God’s thoughts about this matter recorded below:
“It’s crucial that we *keep a firm grip* on what we’ve heard so that we don’t drift off.”
“Christ as Son is in charge of the house. Now IF we can only *keep a firm grip on this bold confidence, we’re the house!*” (Heb. 3:6).
“**IF we can only keep our grip on the sure thing we started out with, we’re in this with Christ for the long haul.**” (Heb. 3:14).
“**The promises didn’t do them a bit of good because they didn’t receive the promises with faith**” (Heb. 4:2).
Please read all of the two sections of Scripture below, carefully and prayerfully. Look as you read for the ATTITUDE that honors God and allows us to find the fullness that is in Christ. It is a common denominator with Abraham, Moses, Daniel, David, Elijah, Caleb, Jeremiah, Paul... and Jesus Himself. I’ll have more to say after those sections of Scripture.
Isn’t it obvious that all angels are sent to help out with those lined up to receive salvation?
It’s crucial that we *keep a firm grip* on what we’ve heard so that we don’t drift off. If the old message delivered by the angels was valid and nobody got away with anything, do you think we can risk neglecting this latest message, this magnificent salvation? First of all, it was delivered in person by the Master, then accurately passed on to us by those who heard it from him. All the while God was validating it with gifts through the Holy Spirit, all sorts of signs and miracles, as he saw fit.
THE SALVATION PIONEER
God didn’t put angels in charge of this business of salvation that we’re dealing with here. It says in Scripture,
“What is man and woman that you bother with them; why take a second look their way?
You made them not quite as high as angels, bright with Eden’s dawn light;
Then you put them in charge of your entire handcrafted world.”
When God put him in charge of everything, nothing was excluded. But we don’t see it yet, don’t see everything under his jurisdiction. But we do see Jesus, made “not quite as high as angels,” and then, through the experience of death, crowned so much higher than any angel, with a glory “bright with Eden’s dawn light.” In that death, by God’s grace, he fully experienced death in every person’s place.
It makes good sense that the God who got everything started and keeps everything going now completes the work by making the Salvation Pioneer perfect through suffering as he leads all these people to glory. Since the One who saves and those who are saved have a common origin, *Jesus doesn’t hesitate to treat them as family, saying,
“I’ll tell my good friends, my brothers and sisters, all I know about you;* I’ll join them in worship and praise to you.”
Again, he puts himself in the same family circle when he says, “Even I live by placing my trust in God.”
And yet again, “I’m here with the children God gave me.”
Since the children are made of flesh and blood, it’s logical that the Savior took on flesh and blood in order to rescue them by his death. By embracing death, taking it into himself, he destroyed the devil’s hold on death and freed all who cower through life, scared to death of death.
It’s obvious, of course, that he didn’t go to all this trouble for angels. It was for people like us, children of Abraham. That’s why he had to enter into every detail of human life. Then, when he came before God as high priest to get rid of the people’s sins, he would have already experienced it all himself—all the pain, all the testing—and would be able to help where help was needed.
THE CENTERPIECE OF ALL WE BELIEVE
So, my dear Christian friends, companions in following this call to the heights, take a good hard look at Jesus. He’s the centerpiece of everything we believe, faithful in everything God gave him to do. Moses was also faithful, but Jesus gets far more honor. A builder is more valuable than a building any day. Every house has a builder, but the Builder behind them all is God. Moses did a good job in God’s house, but it was all servant work, getting things ready for what was to come. Christ as Son is in charge of the house.
Now if we can only *keep a firm grip on this bold confidence, we’re the house!* That’s why the Holy Spirit says,
“Today, please listen; don’t turn a deaf ear as in ‘the bitter uprising,’ that time of wilderness testing! Even though they watched me at work for forty years, your ancestors refused to let me do it my way; over and over they tried my patience.
And I was provoked, oh, so provoked! I said, ‘They’ll never keep their minds on God; they refuse to walk down my road.’
Exasperated, I vowed, ‘They’ll never get where they’re going, never be able to sit down and rest.”’
*So watch your step, friends. Make sure there’s no evil unbelief lying around that will trip you up and throw you off course, diverting you from the living God. For as long as it’s still God’s Today, keep each other on your toes so sin doesn’t slow down your reflexes.* **If we can only keep our grip on the sure thing we started out with, we’re in this with Christ for the long haul.**
These words keep ringing in our ears:
“Today, please listen; don’t turn a deaf ear as in the bitter uprising.”
For who were the people who turned a deaf ear? Weren’t they the very ones Moses led out of Egypt? And who was God provoked with for forty years? Wasn’t it those who turned a deaf ear and ended up corpses in the wilderness? And when he swore that they’d never get where they were going, wasn’t he talking to the ones who turned a deaf ear? *They never got there because they never listened, never believed.*
WHEN THE PROMISES ARE MIXED WITH FAITH
For as long, then, as *that promise of resting in him pulls us on to God’s goal for us,* we need to be careful that we’re not disqualified. We received the same promises as those people in the wilderness, but **the promises didn’t do them a bit of good because they didn’t receive the promises with faith. If we believe, though, we’ll experience that state of resting.** But not if we don’t have faith. (Heb. 1:14—4:2 the Message ).
Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?
We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. But there is a place where someone has testified:
“What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?
You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet.”
In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says,
“I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.”
“I will put my trust in him.”
And again he says,
“Here am I, and the children God has given me.”
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
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.
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.’”
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.
Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. Now we who have believed enter that rest... (Heb. 1:14—4:3 NIV ).
As you have just read, from the Voice of God Himself, Jesus came here to be like us—experiencing temptation, suffering, betrayal, disappointment, and every other challenge that we face as well as death. He did this in order to make us His family (vs. 11 above). He did this to make us God’s House (vs. 6). He did this in order to cleanse and remake our dark hearts.
AND YET, some will never EXPERIENCE this Glorious family relationship with Him and His Body. They’ll never EXPERIENCE sharing in Christ together (vs. 14). They’ll never really know personally the Freedom and Life and Love and Rest and Eden-Power restored... because they, like the ten worthless “spies,” second-guess, vacillate, tolerate doubts and skepticism, and flat DON’T BELIEVE! They have attitudes. They have judgments. They wallow in self-pity or criticisms—and then WONDER why there is no Life in them, and they can’t truly love anyone else.
God has spoken to you and to me. HOLD ON to courage. HOLD ON to “boldness” ( KJV ). HOLD ON to Hope, to the Vision of Jesus and His Deliverance of His Family into the Promised Land! HOLD ON to the Call, the passion for His REST, for His HOUSE, and for the GREAT SALVATION! For His RETURN! No passion, no boldness, no courage, no confidence? Attitudes, depression, laziness, fear, cynicism? Then, NO LIFE! NO SHARING IN CHRIST! NOT PART OF THE HOUSE of GOD! BUMMER!
There is no doubt that God wants and expects us to BELIEVE and be confident and hope-filled in Him. He holds up His Vision for personal lives and for His Church, and expects us to BELIEVE and HOLD ON, no matter what! Let’s do. Faith is the stuff that miraculous lives are made of. STOKE THE FIRE, Saints! : )