“Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…” (Hebrews 3:7-8)
In today’s passage, we focus on the often forgotten and under-appreciated Third Person of the Trinity — the Holy Spirit. He is no less God and no less important than the Father and the Son. He is the One who enables the saints of old to do miraculous and astonishing signs. He was the one who empowered Jesus’ ministry on earth, He raised Christ from the dead, and He is the One who speaks to us today. He ministers and equips us to live the life God has called us to live. He is as Jesus calls Him, The Helper.
The main idea we need to glean from today’s text is that THE HOLY SPIRIT SPEAKS TO US. Notice the text does not say “If He speaks to you,” but rather, “if you hear His voice.” The Holy Spirit is speaking to us constantly, through God’s Word, through our thoughts, and occasionally through other means like people, nature, and events. The big question is, “Are we listening?” Are we sensitive to the “small, still voice” of the Spirit when He is instructing us, exhorting, leading, rebuking, and encouraging? Or are we too busy, too distracted by the sound of our own voice to hear His? The Word says do not harden your heart when you hear His voice, but listen, and what’s implied in listening–obeying. The Israelites, after God freed them from their captors in Egypt, did not listen to the Spirit but rather hardened their hearts, which is another way of saying they ignored His voice and became obstinate in their disobedience, and they paid dearly for it. For their part, in His righteous wrath God did not allow them enter the Promised Land or “His rest”.
The Apostle Paul, in agreement with the writer of Hebrews, reminds us to walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:16), to be led by the Spirit (Rom 8:14), to not quench the Spirit (1 Thess 5:19), and to not grieve the Spirit (Eph 4:30).
In listening to the Spirit, it is important to understand several things:
- He will never lead you into sin.
- He will never contradict God’s Word.
- He is for you, caring for you, and always working in you, making you more into the image of Christ…the perfect person.
- He helps us to live in the center of God’s will.
- He is all-powerful, yet He can be resisted.
To the last point, the Holy Spirit’s power is limitless in its potency and yet, just as we are capable of sinning, we are also capable of quenching, or resisting His workings in us. Therefore, we must ever be on guard, for to quench the Spirit is to work against Him, and that is ultimately futile.
So as you seek to listen to the Holy Spirit, let these words fill you with hope: “For it is God who works in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).
Prayer: “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” (Psalm 143:10)