The evening news held graphic pictures of Civil War in Syria.
Children being slaughtered, sexually tormented, held up as living shields against the weapons of man.
I had to turn away from the T.V. screen and leave the room.
My mother’s heart was in agony with what my eyes took in.
What is this world coming to?
History continues to repeat itself.
It haunts me.
And even threatens to discourages me.
It creates a will that would both fight for and demand justice.
But my feet land in my present day and living reality and I am reminded that this horror has been taking place since the creation of mankind.
Man is capable of having a heart of hell itself.
What other explanation could there be for mutilation and abuse of little children? Even of babies, ( I saw them…the babies…laying on hospital stretchers, crying in pain with their open, bleeding wounds…and this was yesterday’s news, not 50 years ago.) WHO could possibly do such a thing? What thoughts controlled those inflicting the wounds? What is the meaning or value of human life in culture? What???!!
My thoughts circle around to the life events of people close to me; death, physical and mental illnesses, great monetary needs like work and money, and battles with discouragement over long roads of unanswered prayer.
My personal study in the book of Hebrews falls in the midst of all these present realities.
This morning I was studying in chapters two and three.
In chapter 3:12-13 it is written: “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.”
Also in chapter three I read again of the children of Israel, who wandered for forty years in disbelief and discouragement ( see Ch.3:7-19)…..”So we see that they were unable to enter BECAUSE OF UNBELIEF.”
Does discouragement lead to unbelief or does unbelief lead to discouragement?
In chapter 3:12 we are warned that an unbelieving heart leads us AWAY from the living God.
The children of Israel encountered human suffering. They were held captive by the people of Egypt and were useful only as work slaves. These people were well acquainted with what it meant to live in bondage.
But God had a plan to free them! God appointed a leader named Moses to lead them out and away from their evil dictator, King Pharoah. Their journey TO freedom did not mean their suffering was over; part of God’s plan for freedom included their walking(literally) through great wilderness of testing.
Their testing unearthed the condition of their HEARTS. Truth came out under pressure, and as we read in Hebrews their hearts were full of UNBELIEF.
“Today if you hear His voice (the voice of Jesus), DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS as in the rebellion.” For who were those who HEARD and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And WITH WHOM was He provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we SEE that they were unable to enter BECAUSE OF UNBELIEF.”
God had given a calling of leadership TO Moses FOR these very people in the book of Exodus chapter three and verses 7-12; “Then the Lord said, “I have SEEN the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and HAVE HEARD their cry because of their taskmasters. I KNOW their sufferings, and I have come down TO DELIVER them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up OUT OF THAT LAND to a GOOD and BROAD land, a land FLOWING with milk and honey….” (read the remaining verses).
God had not forgotten them in their sufferings; He had a plan, and the plan had not changed; it was their unbelief that led them away from trust, expectation and remembrance of WHO God said He was and of what He WOULD DO for them.
An unbelieving heart leads AWAY from God not TO Him.
Are you discouraged today?
Is your heart growing cold? is it pulsing with unbelief? Doubt?
“Therefore we MUST pay CLOSER attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it” (Heb. 2:1)
In all suffering, we can and must place our hope, our belief and our trust in God. HE HAS NOT CHANGED, nor will He ever change, (see James 1:17) He has a plan; not a back-up plan, but a present plan that is alive and in place at this very moment.
If our unbelief leads us away from God, than it also leads us away from His plan. How can God lead a people whose hearts are full of mistrust and calculation of self-reliance?
Discouragement has become the “acceptable” sin. It is sin because it is stinks profusely of a heart that contains unbelief.
Perhaps that is why in Hebrews 3:13 it is written that we are to “exhort one another EVERY day”…
Perhaps we need to learn what it means to be a culture of people who understand what it means to love.
The bible says that God IS love, ( 1 John 4:16); if unbelief leads us away from God, than we are lead away from love; genuine love does not think of self whereas unbelief feeds on self. Love will lead us to the Father and to one another.
Unbelief isolates the suffering, love encompasses the suffering.
Did we swallow the red or the blue pill?
Have we become victims of a cosmic game of hell that is leading us away from the very truth that was sent to save and free us?