Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 48
Hebrews 3:12-19 – Part 2
I think we are ready to move on. Hebrews chapter 3 and well take a shot at verse 15 again, where it says:
“While it is said, To day…”
Remember, I have been emphasizing this today so far as these people are concerned and so far as we are concerned is this Age of Grace. Where as we have been seeing the last couple of programs that it isn’t limited to the Jew, and it’s not limited to the Gentile. It’s not limited to any one class of people but it’s for the whosoever will! Now verse 15 again.
“While it is said, To day if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts as in the provocation. 16. For some, when they had heard,…” In other words, when God spoke and said, “Go in and take the land. It’s waiting for you. I’ll drive the Canaanites out.” Alright, to them that was the good news. That was all they needed to know, but they couldn’t believe it! Alright, so let’s finish the verse:
“…did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17. But with whom was he grieved forty years?…”
Remember, I made mention several programs back, when we first started here in this chapter, they came in eleven days, if I am not mistaken. Eleven days from Mt. Sinai to Kadesh and that eleven days stretched into what? Forty years! Why? Unbelief! Now you see for people today, unbelief is not going to be forty years, it’s going to be eternity lost and with no hope. Alright, so here is the warning.
“…To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. 16. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17. but with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned,…”
But, remember what was their sin. I pointed it out in the last program or the one before. It wasn’t the calf, the golden calf at Sinai. It wasn’t their gross immorality that they danced around that calf. But, what was their sin? Unbelief! God said they could take it and they said what? “No, we can’t.” What did the spies say? “Oh, we are like grasshoppers in their sight. The cities are walled, and we can’t take them” And yet, they had the proof of the pudding when they brought back the grapes and everything else. And yet, in unbelief, they couldn’t buy what God had said. I can’t comprehend it. I just cannot comprehend it. But, you see, this is the way it has been all the way up through human history. God told Adam and Eve in simplistic terms, “Don’t eat of that tree.” That’s all, everything else was theirs. But, in a step of unbelief, what did they do? They ate. And that brought sin into the whole human experience.
So, all of these things are just examples so that we can learn from it. It wasn’t their sin, as so far as their action. It was their unbelief, but what prompted their unbelief? Their lawlessness, they were sinners. Now remember, Israelites were just as much the offspring of Adam as we Gentiles. They’ve got the same old Adamic nature as we do, and that old Adamic nature is lawless, and so it precipitated their unbelief. Now, I’m going to just have to speculate here, and I certainly don’t claim to have the answer. I wouldn’t even pretend to have. But I like to throw the question out just to make people think. Now of all these children of Israel who came out of Egypt under Moses’ leadership, as they walked through that Red Sea, did any of them stay behind and say, “Well, I’m scared to death the water will come crashing down.” Not that we know of. So what did that take to go through the Red Sea? Faith!
Because, anybody with an ounce of sense would know that when that Red Sea water parted, and it must have parted a long ways, because three to four million people couldn’t go through a little canyon of a hundred or two hundred feet and do it in 24 hours. So that Red Sea must have opened, I think, miles. Well, however much wider it was the higher the water had to be piled. Right? And God piled it! You know He did! With invisible walls and dams to hold it. So what did it take to walk down between those walls of water? Faith. Had to. And they came up on the other side a redeemed, bought back people. Every one of them!
Alright, now then you follow them on down to Mt. Sinai and they come under the Law and even in spite of the golden calf experience, here they come under Moses’ leadership. The cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night and they encamp at Kadesh. And then the nation says, “We can’t do it,” with the exception of Joshua and Caleb and Moses, of course. Now my question is. Were all those Israelites lost? Some of them? What do you think? You can’t give me an answer, because I don’t think any of us have got one. But, it is sobering to think about. Or were they all saved because they came out of Egypt by Faith. I don’t know. I haven’t got the answer.
But, I know one thing. It’s something to make us think, because you see we are in the same dilemma in Christendom today. You know, that’s like we kind of enjoy getting into some different denominations once in a while as we have been this last few weeks. Because you see, twenty or thirty years ago, I would probably have thought that none of those had the truth. But they do! I am finding that almost in any group you’ve got a certain number of people who have a true salvation. They love the Lord, and they love this Book. And, in other groups that you probably think, oh, they are all Christians, they’ve got no love for the Book. So you see, we can’t judge. There is no way we can determine how many of that group are saved. We don’t know.
And I think this whole experience at Kadesh is a sobering experience because were they all lost, because they refused to go in unbelief? Was their Faith exercised, coming through the Red Sea all become vain? I don’t think so. But we can’t do anything but speculate. I would never say that they were all lost or that they were all saved or that half of them were. I would like to think some of them were. Because even in Israel’s history when the nation, for the most part, was going down the tube and they were succumbing to idolatry. Did they all? I don’t think so. Even when Elijah said, “You know Lord, I am the only one left.” But what did God say? “No Elijah, I have seven thousand left.” Even though the vast majority of Israel followed in the words of Baal, yet seven thousand remained true to Jehovah.
And so, all up through Israel’s history, I’m sure there were always a percentage of people who were aghast at what their leadership was doing. They were aghast at the gross immorality of the majority of people who were following pagan gods and goddesses. And then you know what I have to think? We are in the same boat today. We are getting more and more where the majority is now rejecting everything Biblical. We are seeing it, as it’s a culture war in America today, we know it is. And here we are as believers, getting smaller and smaller percentage-wise, and one day God’s going to judge this nation like He has every other nation that turns against Him, so what’s our only hope? Our only hope is that the Lord will return before that day comes. Because it’s coming.
Even though we have a percentage as Abraham had when he bargained with God over Sodom and Gomorrah. What did Abraham say? “Now, Lord if there’s ten in Sodom, would you spare it?” Yeah. But He didn’t have ten and so God destroyed it. And so here’s the sobering thought: if these Israelites who came out of Egypt by faith through the experience of the Red Sea with water piled up on both sides and yet were able to come up here to Kadesh with nothing any harder to believe that I can see, than to walk into the Promised Land. Go in and take the land of Canaan. And they couldn’t do it because of unbelief. And they wept. And they cried all night and then, horror of horrors, what did they ask to do. Send us back to Egypt. Send us back to the slave yards. Oh, that is almost beyond human comprehension.
And so, here is the constant lesson in these two chapters of Hebrews. Don’t forget what can happen to people when their hearts are hardened by unbelief, and when they can no longer trust the Word of God. And see, I have said it over the years, I think America can be, to a certain degree, a parallel of the Nation of Israel. We have been singularly blessed as a nation. No other nation on earth has enjoyed the Spiritual and material blessings that we have in America. But does that mean that God will never, never change blessing us? I don’t think so. I think the day is coming when God is going to have to come up and judge America for the responsibilities that we have walked under foot.
And you know I am always rehearsing our Founding Fathers. My when they got at loggerheads, and they had some big problems to overcome, and don’t think they didn’t. Number one was, how can the small states maintain a representation, like Massachusetts and Vermont and so forth, against the big states like Pennsylvania and Virginia. And, boy, it was a tough one to crack. But, I have said it over and over, and I read it in a secular magazine, not in any religious magazine, but in a secular magazine. What did those men do when they got to the place that they just couldn’t make any more headway? They dismissed and went into prayer rooms. They got down on their knees, everyone of them and they prayed, that the God of Heaven would give them wisdom. That’s our heritage. That’s where we’ve come from.
And then today, they ridicule the concept that our President would even think to pray in the morning. I hope you realize that’s what they are doing. They are ridiculing him for it. When our Attorney General, John Ashcroft, tries to have a Bible Study, they ridicule him for it. Well, that’s exactly the way it got in Israel. Just go back and read some of the prophets of Jeremiah and so forth. But now, my question is, were they all that steeped in unbelief? I don’t think so, but the minority of the believers had to suffer the results of the majority in their unbelief. And so, this is the constant reminder now then, as we look at it again in verse 17.
“But with whom was He grieved those forty years?…”
While they were dying off in the wilderness, one commentary puts it, that they moved from place to place and the bones were just about covering the ground of where they left, as they were dying by the hundreds for forty years. See?
“…was it not with them who had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? 18. And to whom sware he that they should not enter into His rest, but to him that believed not?”
It just repeats unbelief and repeats it and repeats it! The biggest tragedy for Israel, as well as for the human race in general, is unbelief. God says it and He expects us to believe it. And as I said in an earlier program, He’s proven himself with fulfilled prophecy. No other book on earth can tell things a hundred years in advance, let alone 3 or 500. But this Book does. And it is being fulfilled to the jot and tittle and it will be fulfilled to the complete jot and tittle. And so here is why we can believe it. It has proven itself. Let’s see what Peter even calls it. In II Peter, chapter 1.
II Peter 1:15-16a
“Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. (remember, Peter too is writing to the Jews of his day more than to us Gentiles. Now watch this, this is the verse that I had on my mind.) 16. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables,…”
And you know that is exactly what the scoffers call this Book? I read again just awhile back, where someone was ridiculing the Bible as nothing more than a bunch of campfire stories concocted while the Israelites were in antiquity and they brought all these things to mind as they were sitting around their ancient campfires. But Peter says, “no, these are not cunningly devised fables.”
II Peter 1:16b-17
“…when we made known unto you the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye witnesses of His majesty. 17. For He received from God the Father, honour and glory, (now he is speaking of the Transfiguration.) when there came such a voice to him from the excellent Glory, This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Now you remember, that was on the Mount of Transfiguration when Peter, James and John were met with Moses and Elijah. And God spoke from Heaven. Alright now verse 18. Peter says, “This voice which came from Heaven, we heard!” Proof positive that God is real. He is the Living God as we saw earlier.
II Peter 1:18-19
“And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. (The Mount of Transfiguration. Now verse 19) We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that you take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your own hearts:”
In other words, I think Peter is speaking of a Spirit enlightening, that we can grasp these things. We can believe them and we don’t have to doubt them because we understand that God has proven Himself over and over by fulfilling prophetic statements. Now verse 20.
II Peter 1:20
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation,”
In other words, you don’t just take one little tidbit here and pull it out and do whatever you want with it. You have to compare Scripture with Scripture. We have to use the whole.
II Peter 1:21
“For the prophecy (the Word of God,) came not in old time by the will of man: (they didn’t sit around a campfire and concoct these things.) but holy (or set apart) men of God spake as they were moved (or inspired) by the Holy Ghost.”
That’s how our Book came together. This is not cunningly devised fables. It is the Word of God and consequently God expects us to believe it. Alright now then I am going to take you back, I used the verse some time ago, I think in the last program. I am going to bring you back to Romans chapter 4. And we are going to look at Abraham for just a second, because I am not losing sight of what we’ve been looking at in Hebrews 3 and we will again in Hebrews 4, how that Israel at Kadesh-Barnea, with the full opportunity of entering into the land of Canaan, a rest of sorts, as they didn’t have to work, and they didn’t have to fight. All they had to do was take it by what? Faith! Believe it and move in and take it. But, they couldn’t do it. Alright now, Abraham is just the opposite. Now verse 1 of chapter 4 of Romans.
“What shall we say then that Abraham our Father, as pertaining to the flesh, (that is the Father of the Jewish race) has found? 2. For if Abraham were justified by works, (see that is what all religion demands. Religion will always give you a set of works) he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.” If that was possible, he could get to Heaven and say, “Look God, what I did, how I deserve to be here.” But he’ll never be able to do that before God. Now verse 3.
“For what saith the scripture? (What does the Word of God say? The Word of God says) Abraham believed God,…”
It doesn’t say that Abraham went out and sacrificed. Doesn’t say that Abraham went out and did this or that or some other thing. All Abraham did was took God at his Word, plus nothing! He believed God. Now then reading on:
“…and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”
God declared him righteous because he could believe. Now, it is no different today. The moment a sinner believes, God accounts him as righteous. But, at the same time God empowers him to live righteously. That’s where we get the ability and the power to live a Christian life. You can’t do it in the flesh. It is impossible and none of us can. But God empowers us and if we draw on that power, then it is possible to depart from these things that the Bible calls iniquity and we, like Abraham, can walk as people of faith. Verse 4.
“Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.”
He’s speaking of a religious person. See, that is what we are dealing with in Hebrews. They were tied to their religion. And what did their religion demand? Temple worship, the Sacrifices, keeping the Feast Days. and yes, their tithes. All those things were part and parcel of their religion. But now, to him that worked the reward isn’t reckoned of Grace, but debt. So anytime a religious person says, “I’m doing the best I can. I’m putting God in debt to me!” He owes me. Now, if somebody owes you, he’s in debt. I don’t care how you cut it. If he owes you, he’s in debt to you. Alright, that’s what the religionist is doing. He’s going to work, and work, and work and then point the finger at God and say, “Now, you owe me. You’ve got to pay off. You’ve got to let me into your heaven.” But it isn’t going to work that way because the next verse says:
“But to him that worketh not,…”
See now, Israel again back to Kadesh, and I can’t help but come back here. Israel at Kadesh, how much were they going to have to do to enjoy the Promised Land? Nothing! Just walk in and enjoy it. Isn’t that something? And they rejected it because of unbelief. Alright now, here we come again.
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth…” That’s the other word for faith. That when we believe what God has said and we believe on Him who justifies the ungodly, not the person who is worthy of it.
But to him that worketh not, but believeth, on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
Let’s go back once again to Hebrews chapter 3 and I think that maybe we will slip into chapter 4 before the hour is up. And we will be ready for that then in our next taping. Alright, chapter 3 again verse 19. Boy, I want you to hear it in your sleep.
“So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”
So then, they entered not because of unbelief. Nothing else. Unbelief. Now you see had they been able to believe God and if they would have gone in as a nation of believers, do you see what God could have done? Oh, He could have blessed them. They could have been a fabulous nation of people. But instead they had to go back out and die and their carcasses rotted in the wilderness, for forty years. Now, in the last minute or two that we’ve got left. Let’s look at the Nation of Israel with a second opportunity and that was when Christ came in His first advent. It’s almost a repeat. The Nation could have had everything. They could have had the Kingdom, and they could have had the King. He offered Himself. But what did they do? They crucified Him and God in His love and mercy came back and again, just like the forty years of wilderness, what did God do with the Nation of Israel through that forty years of the Book of Acts from His crucifixion until finally the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. You have almost a repeat performance. They rejected the offer of everything that only asked for their faith. And, as a result they went through the forty years of the Book of Acts which culminated then with the destruction of the Temple, the city and the nation.