It is not good enough if people intend to trust God only at some future time. God has chosen a particular time when people must trust him. The author of Hebrews refers to Psalm 95:7-8, which calls that time ‘today’. We need to understand what those authors mean by ‘today’. On that day, God insists that we must have the right attitudes towards him. And only if we do can we enter God’s ‘rest’. That is, the relationship with God where he is present in our lives.
Hebrews 4:7 explains that ‘today’ does not just mean one particular date in the past. David wrote Psalm 95 several centuries after Moses led the people. But David said that the situation was the same as during Moses’ life. David wrote that ‘today’, as then, people could hear God’s words. And it was still important that they had the proper attitudes.
Also, Hebrews 3:13 tells us that each day is still called ‘today’ for this purpose. But clearly, the writer believes that, at some future time, the promise of God’s rest will no longer be available.
Therefore, the meaning of ‘today’ in these passages means the present age.
By the ‘present age’, we mean the time while people on this earth continue not to obey God. During this time, some people have the opportunity to hear God’s voice and to change their attitudes. But this time, the present age, will not last always. When Jesus returns to rule, this present age will end.
But in fact, people’s opportunity to trust God is much shorter than that. God demands that we trust him during our lives on this earth. It is only here, on this earth, that we may receive his good news. Only while we are alive do we have the choice to accept or refuse it.
Of course, nobody knows how long they will live. Nobody knows whether they will have another opportunity to hear God’s message. So, in the end, ‘today’ means what it says. It is this day, now, the day when you are reading this page. This is your opportunity to invite God into your life. This is your opportunity when you can ask him to forgive you. This is your opportunity to trust him. Do not hesitate or delay! Tomorrow may be too late. God is speaking by his word, the Bible, today.
Next part: Joshua wins peace for Israel (Hebrews 4:8)
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© 2013, Keith Simons.