Daily Devotional

April 8, 2021

Daybreak: Hebrews 3:1-19

“For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.” (Hebrews 3:14)

In my middle teens, I went through a stage of intense interest in electronics. Based on a design in an amateur electronics magazine, I first built a very simple radio receiver. (This will date me: it had one “tube” and a lot of soldered wire connections.) Once I discovered that clockwise as viewed from the top of the socket is counterclockwise when viewed from underneath, it actually worked. 

Emboldened by this success, I set out to build a five-tube superheterodyne receiver. The challenges were many. This was not a kit, so I had to buy the individual components, which required numerous trips to electronics stores. The cost was significant, and I only had a part-time job. Finally, the project was stalled because I could not find one of the necessary components. A year or so later, when I was able to find and purchase the missing piece, the completed set would not work and my enthusiasm for the project had pretty much disappeared, anyway. Looking back, it would have been great if I could have taken the half-completed project to someone who really understood electronics. Perhaps I was just moments away from victory! Eventually, I gave the non-functioning components to someone who showed a slight interest in them, thus ending my short-lived electronics career.

Many people approach their Christian walk much as I did the electronics project. They start off with great enthusiasm. Certainly there are difficulties and obstacles to overcome, but with the Lord’s help, they are victorious. Then, after a period of time, they lose their initial zest for the Gospel. In many cases, the cause is not so much a desire to do the wrong things as a loss of determination to hang in there. And in the end, what will it profit a person if he started out to serve the Lord, but failed to follow through? 

In today’s text, we are reminded that only two of the adult males who left Egypt with Moses lived to enter the Promised Land. The majority did not hold their “confidence to the end,” and as a result, they were no better off than if they had never started. 

Verse 13 of chapter 3 encourages us to exhort (i.e., encourage) one another daily. Our encouragement may be just the thing that will help our brother or sister when they are going through a spiritual battle. By the same token, we need the encouragement of others from time to time. Just think what might have been if I had received help on my “radio” from someone who knew what they were doing! But I was pretty much on my own, and the project came to nothing because I gave up before it was completed. 

Let’s make sure we retain our confidence, and persevere to the end!

Background

Chapter 3 shows the superiority of Christ to faithful Moses. If Israel’s rejection of Moses’ leadership in the wilderness prevented them from entering the Promised Land, how much graver the result to those who refuse Jesus Christ. Continuing and persevering in the Christian race is a central theme of the Book of Hebrews. In verse 6 of today’s text, the writer instructs believers to “hold fast” in their faith. In verse 14, he instructs them to “hold steadfast unto the end.” These verses are central to the analogy that Christian living is similar to running a race — just as runners must train and condition to run, then persevere and press on to the finish line, so also must Christians continue and persevere in faith to press on to the end goal, which is Heaven. 

The first-century Jews regarded Moses very highly, which is a possible explanation for the writer’s choice to use the Israelites’ experience in the wilderness as the example for his argument (verses 6-11). In this passage, the writer directly quotes Psalm 95:7-11. The verses in this Psalm are quoted three times in Hebrews, in 3:7-8, 15, and 4:7.

In verse 9, the placing of a forty-year time frame possibly parallels the forty years the Israelites spent in the wilderness, and the period of time that had elapsed since the rejection of Christ in A.D. 30. The Children of Israel saw God’s work in the wilderness for forty years, and in about A.D. 70 when the Book of Hebrews was written, the readers had also had about forty years, since A.D. 30, to examine the evidence of Christ’s work.

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II.   The argument: the preeminence of Christ in His person and work
      B.   The superiority of Christ to Moses (3:1-6)
            1.   The comparisons between Christ and Moses (3:1-2)
            2.   The contrasts between Christ and Moses (3:3-6)
                  a.   Moses belonged to the house; Christ built the house (3:3-4)
                  b.   Moses was a servant in the house; Christ over His house (3:5-6)
      C.   Parenthesis II: warning against disobedience 
           1.   The case of Israel’s failure (3:7-11)
           2.   The call to faithfulness (3:12-15)
           3.   The cause of Israel’s failure (3:16-19)

A Closer Look

  1. How does the writer describe those who turn from God?
     
  2. What does it mean to harden your heart?
     
  3. What can you do to encourage other Christians to grow and continue in faith?

Conclusion

An old chorus says: “I am determined to hold out to the end. Jesus is with me; on Him I can depend. And I know I have salvation for I feel it in my soul. I am determined to reach that heav’nly goal.” Let us be one of those who are determined to go all the way with the Lord — all the way to that heavenly goal!

Reference Materials