Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 47
Hebrews 3:1-12 – Part 2
I know many of you, as you join with us, feel that you’re right back there in the audience someplace. I remember when we first started all this several years ago, as we were talking to the channel 47 personnel here in Tulsa, and I said, “I’ll come on television (it was their idea, not mine) if I can have a classroom setting like I’m used to teaching in – if we can have tables and chairs, chalkboard, and a music stand to teach from.” Well they agreed to all that, and that’s where we first got the idea that we wanted a classroom setting, and you’d be surprised at how many people comment that that’s what they like about our program. It’s just like an old college classroom where they can sit with their textbook, and make notes and so forth.
Now let’s get back into Hebrews chapter 3, where we ran out of time in our last program, and we’ll begin with verse 7.
“Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice. 8. Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9. When your fathers (now remember, Paul is writing to Hebrews so he’s referring all the way back to the forefathers of Israel) tempted (or tested is a better word) me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. 10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart; and they have not know my ways. 11. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) (Now we have to take the next verse to pick up God’s number one controversy with the human race as well as Israel, as I pointed out in the last program, so he says) 12. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief,…”
Now he doesn’t mention any of the other sins of the flesh, but rather unbelief! Oh that’s what God hates more than anything, is a lack of faith. So looking at that last verse again:
“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, (and when there is no faith, then it’s an easy step to do what?) in departing from the living God.”
You’ve heard me say it on the program over the last several years, as you come back to Exodus chapter 23, “What is America’s number one problem?” It’s not politics, or economics, but rather it’s spiritual. We’ve lost our faith! As a nation of people we no longer have any respect for the absolutes of this Book, and we’re suffering the consequences. Restore America back to the faith of our fathers, and most of our problems will disappear. But they will not because they will not believe what God says. Well here is the lesson for us now from Israel’s experience going into the Promised Land.
Now during break time, I just drew a make shift map of Israel and a lot of people think that the Promised Land is just this little neck between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan Valley. Well, nothing could be further from the truth, and we’ll be seeing that in a little bit. But the Israelites came from down here at Mount Sinai in the Arabian desert, and came up to Kadesh, and yes, this is where they were going to go first, was up through the fertile area of what we presently call the land of Israel or secularizing it, it’s the land of Palestine. But the Promised Land was everything from the river of Egypt, around the Mediterranean, past Mount Herman, and all the way to the Euphrates River, clear out to the gulf of Persia, and back around to the Red Sea, and back over to the river of Egypt. Now that’s the Promised Land, not this that they have today.
I was just reading a book the other day, and do you know, according to the Bellfore Agreement of 1918 when Great Britain first agreed to give Israel a home land, all of this is about what they had drawn out. I mean just about all of this, but not quite, but you see it wasn’t very long until they started having second thoughts, so they pulled all that away and made Jordan, and then they gave Israel what we now presently think of as the land of Israel. But listen, the Promised Land is that whole middle east out to the Euphrates River, and I’ll show you that in Scripture in just a little bit. Now coming into Exodus chapter 23, and verse 25.
“And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee. 26. (and here we come with all the material and earthly blessings) There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfil. 27. I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.” In other words, what does that mean? Hey, their enemies are going to run. They’ll be running out ahead of them. Now verse 28. God says:
“And I will send hornets before thee,…”
Now listen, I don’t care if the Canaanites were twelve feet tall, could they withstand a hive of hornets? No way, I don’t care how big they were. God said, “I’ll send hornets and just drive them out!” Can you picture it? And God meant business, He said, “This is what I’ll do. I’ll drive them out and you won’t even have to lift a sword. All you’ve got to do is walk in behind them and settle down.” Now let’s read on.
“And I will send hornets before thee which will drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee. 29. I will not drive them out from before thee in one year;…” In other words I’m not going to drive them out so fast that you can’t pick up taking care of their vineyards and orchards and so forth. We’ll go slow enough that you can take over and cultivate, and keep everything going.
“…lest the beast of the field multiply against thee. 30. By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.” (my what a promise God made. Now here come their boundaries) 31. And I will set thy bounds from the Red Sea (which is down here on the south remember) even unto the sea of the Philistines, (which is the Mediterranean) and from the desert unto the river: (which is the great river Euphrates) for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hands; and thou shalt drive them out before thee.” Now with all this goodness being spread before them, here’s the admonition in verse 32.
“Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. 33. They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.”
Now let’s go to the Book of Deuteronomy for a moment, and Deuteronomy is sort of a book review, where Moses recaps everything that has happened. I always have a hard time deciding where to jump in because this is all good. If you would like to have an interesting evening of reading just read the Book of Deuteronomy. It is one portion of Scripture that is almost like a story, and not hard to understand. So let’s just jump in at verse 2, because here is where I was referring to in our last lesson. It was just an eleven day journey from Mount Sinai to Kadesh – I mean just 11 days. Then they could have started taking the Promised Land, could have occupied it and could have had all the goodness of it. But like I pointed out before, instead of 11 days, how long was it until Joshua brought them in across the Jordan River? 40 years! So they stretched 11 days into 40 years because of unbelief.
“(There are eleven days’ journey from Horeb (Mount Sinai) by the way of Mount Seir unto Kadesh-barnea.” Do you see how plain that is? You don’t have to be a seminary graduate to understand that. Eleven days from Mt. Sinai to Kadesh. Now verse 3.
“And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the LORD has given him in commandment unto them; 4. After he had slain Sihon the king of the Amorites, which dwelt in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, which dwelt at Astaroth in Edrei: 5. On this side (east) Jordan, in the land of Moab, began Moses to declare this law, (or this Book of Deuteronomy) saying,” Now look what he says:
“The LORD our God spake unto us in Horeb, (at Mount Sinai after they had received their instructions for the tabernacle) saying, ye have dwelt long enough in this mount: 7. Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto all the places nigh thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, and in the vale, and in the south, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, (which is up toward Mount Herman on my map) unto the great river, the river Euphrates.”
See I don’t want someone to say, “Well, where do you get it that the Euphrates River is the east boundary?” See, that’s what the Scriptures say over and over. It’s the Euphrates River that would be their boundary and then down to the Red Sea and over to the Sea of the Philistines. Now let’s just compare before we go any further here in Deuteronomy, to the Scripture back in Genesis chapter 15. I don’t want you to think, “Well Moses was just being real normal, and all of a sudden his ambition got the best of him, so he concocted the idea that they could have the whole Middle East.” No, this is what God deeded to them here in Genesis 15, and let’s begin with verse 18.
“In the same day (that God came down and fulfilled a title deed with Abraham) the LORD made a covenant with Abram, (Abraham) saying, Unto thy seed (his offspring, his generations down the road) have I given this land, (we’re not talking about something spiritual, bur rather good old physical earth) from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the River Euphrates:”
Do you see how plain that is? There’s no argument about that. God has given them everything from the River of Egypt, and I don’t think it’s the Nile. I think there was another river east of the Nile that sort of disappeared over time – but whatever, it was the River of Egypt all along the Mediterranean, up to the River Euphrates, and back to the Red Sea. But I wanted you to see that this is what God Himself deeded to Abraham. Now come on back with me to Deuteronomy and verse 8.
“Behold, I have set the land before you: (the Promised Land God has prepared through the sweat and tears of the Canaanites) go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.”
Do you see that? Now for sake of time I’m going to have to bring you all the way up to verse 18. Now I want you to see what Moses is showing, that when the children of Israel left Mount Sinai with everything set to go into and occupy the land, that they now had the Levitical priesthood set up and had the tabernacle built with all of the floor plan that followed up later in the temple. Everything was now ready for God’s covenant people to enter into a place of bliss, joy, and no bloodshed. As long as they were obedient, God would bless them, and my, it was as promised, the Promised Land, and everything was waiting for them. Now read on in verse 18.
“And I commanded you at that time all the things which ye should do.” Remember they’re under Law, and Law says, “Do this and I’ll bless you, do that, and I’ll bless you.” Don’t do this and don’t do that was the Law! And so Moses rehearses all that. Now verse 19.
“And when we departed from Horeb, (Mount Sinai) we went through all that great, and terrible wilderness, which ye saw by the way of the mountain of the Amorites, as the LORD our God commanded us; and we came to Kadesh-barnea.” Now I wish everybody could just be familiar with that term. Kadesh-barnea was the gateway to the Promised Land, and God brought them up there in that eleven day journey and set them there, and said, “Go in and take it, it’s ready for you. You won’t have to raise a sword, you won’t have to worry about losing a single young man, because I’ll drive them out with hornets.”
“And I said unto you, Ye are come unto the mountain of the Amorites, which the LORD our God doth give unto us. 21. Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy father hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.”
Now stop a moment and think. What did neither God or Moses tell the children of Israel? What did He not tell them? He didn’t say a word about sending in the twelve spies! Did He? No. God or Moses hadn’t said a word about sending spies to see if they can do it. But rather He said, “Take my word for it, and go in and take the land. There won’t be one item of opposition, just go take it.” But what does unbelief say? “Oh but wait a minute, aren’t you even going to let us check it out, and see if we can make it? You see that’s unbelief, but that exactly what Israel did, and that’s where God’s anger began.
Now God agreed to it, and condescended, and said, “Ok, if that will make it easier for you, I’ll let you pick one man out of each of the twelve tribes and you can send them in and spy out the land.” That was the biggest mistake that Israel ever made! Why? Because the majority report came back 10 – 2 and said what? We can’t do it. Now what did I say years and years ago on this program? When it comes to the things of the Spirit, the majority are usually wrong! You can just mark that up, because the majority is usually wrong. Just look at Christendom today, as for the majority of their people they have become a works religion, and don’t tell me that makes them right. So the 12 spies go in and search out the land, and Moses says in verse 22:
“And ye came near unto me every one of you, and said, We will send men before us, and they shall search us out the land, and bring us word again by what way we must go up, and into what cities we shall come.” But what had God said? “It’s all yours!” But what did Israel say? “How?” Isn’t that ridiculous? But you see this is unbelief at work, and so the first step down in unbelief was, “Okay let’s spy out the land first, and then we’ll go and take it.” No, you see unbelief is a downhill slide on a banana peel, and it is almost irrevocable, and this is a good example. Now let’s read on in verse 23, and here you are going to see one of Moses’ weak points. Moses should have been able to stand up to these people and said, “Now look, our God has said it’s ours for the taking, we’re not to put spies in there.” But Moses condescended and agreed and said:
“And the saying pleased me well: and I took twelve men of you, one of a tribe: 24. And they turned and went up into the mountain, and came unto the valley of Eshcol, and searched it out. 25. And they took of the fruit of the land in their hands,…”
Now the first thing I imagine for anybody who has been to Israel, especially until the last few years, would say, “What in the world was God thinking, when He told Israel they could have the land flowing with milk and honey?” It almost looks like something that anyone would be glad to run away from. Now, today we’re seeing the land of Israel blossoming like a rose. But, when Iris and I went for the first time in 1975, we said, “What in the world did God think when He said that He would give them this Promised Land?” It was a barren wilderness!
In fact, Mark Twain reported in the 1860’s that it was absolutely barren and uninhabitable. He said, “We drove for miles and never saw a living creature, and we went up to Jerusalem, and it was just a heartache and despair, because there was nothing there.” Now that was Mark Twain and he wouldn’t lie. But back when God showed it to Israel, it was a variable garden flowing indeed with milk and honey! Now read on.
“And they took of the fruit of the land in their hands, and brought it down unto us, and brought us word again, and said, It is a good land which the LORD our God doth give us. 26. Notwithstanding ye would not go up, (remember Moses is rehearsing all this) but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God:” They rebelled! 28a. And ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because the LORD hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us. 28. Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven;…”
Now that was a lie, but what would they rather believe, the truth or a lie? Well, the lie, and it’s the same way today. That’s what Paul means in Romans when he says, “All these things are written for our learning.” See, you won’t find the plan of salvation back here, but you will find a gold mine of learning. And what’s the example? The world hasn’t changed one little bit. They’ll flock to the lie by the millions, but you hold up the truth and they’ll scorn it every time. They’ll scorn it, and many of you have experienced it. You try to bring truth into your Sunday School class, and they’ll just about kick it out the back door. Now, not all, but a lot of them will, and that’s exactly the way it’s always been.
So here’s Israel with the truth of God in front of them, but they would rather believe the lie of ten men. I mean it’s enough to make you weep, but that’s the human race. Now, let’s just keep going with verse 29.
“Then I said unto you, Dread not, neither be afraid of them. 30. The LORD your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes;”
Now for goodness sake, what happened in Egypt? Well, the plagues. And God put a line around Goshen, an invisible line that the flies didn’t penetrate, and with the exception of the first few plagues, none of them touched Israel. When the death angel flew over, with the blood on the door post, not a Jew lost his life. Not a one! So Moses is saying, “The same God that brought you out of Egypt by opening the Red Sea – and if He could open the Red Sea, He could certainly drive out Canaanites. But they just couldn’t believe it, and isn’t it so sad? I mean it’s enough to just break your heart if you really get into it.
Then they stand there in abject unbelief and say, “No God, you don’t mean what you tell us. When you talk to us, you lie.” That’s basically what they’re saying, see? Now verse 31.
“And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place.” What’s he talking about there? He provided water out of the rock, He provided the daily manna, their shoes and clothes didn’t wear out, and everything was provided by God. And with that we’ll have to stop with verse 32.
“Yet in this thing ye did not believe the LORD your God,”