Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Nov 1 2013 - Hebrews 3:1-19 – Encourage one another daily

God does not intend us to follow Christ alone. We are not on a solitary pilgrimage but a shared journey and we need to encourage one another along the way.

The writer of Hebrews reminds his readers of the way in which most of those whom Moses led out of Egypt failed to enter the Promised Land. Think for a moment of their history and you will see how they often discouraged one another. The majority of the spies who came back from looking at the Promised Land said that it would be impossible for the Israelites to take possession of it. Soon they were all pleading to return to Egypt. We too know how easily we become discouraged and how quickly we can discourage others.

This history is recalled in Psalm 95 with the exhortation, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness" (Hebrews 3:7-8 / Psalm 95:7-8). God's people are called to live in the "Today" of faithful discipleship, remembering the "Yesterday" of God's saving activity and pressing on towards the "Forever" that marks the goal of their journey.

This letter was written to Jewish Christians who are facing persecution and who are tempted to turn back from following Christ. The letter is written to remind them of all that they possess in Christ and to encourage them to hold on firmly to the confidence and hope in which they have come to glory (v. 6) – to hold on to the very end (v. 14). And to do this, it is vital that they go on listening to the voice of God "Today" and to respond afresh to his calling with faith and with hope day-by-day.

We also live in the "Today" of our journey, remembering the "Yesterday" of Christ's saving work and pressing on to the "Forever" of glory. We need to encourage one another along the way; to help one another to hear afresh the call of God, spurring one another along in following him. We need also to be careful to keep ourselves from discouraging our brothers and sisters. But above all, we need to remember that Jesus, our faithful Saviour is the same "Yesterday, today and forever" – he is the author and finisher of our faith. We need the encouragement of one another, but above all we need the presence and strength of the Saviour who has gone this way before us and who now accompanies us on our journey. Moses never made it into the Promised Land, but Jesus has entered glory for us and he is with us to bring us safe home. We need to “fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest” (3:1), and we need to listen to his voice today.

And having listened and responded, we need to encourage one another daily – encourage one another today – by speaking to each other of Christ. Who are you going to encourage today and how are you going to encourage them to go on following Christ with confidence and joy?

Father God, for the sake of your dear Son who gave himself for me, forgive me I pray for the many times I have rebelled against you. Forgive me for the many times my words or actions have discouraged another of your dear children. Soften my heart, Lord; give me a listening ear and a ready response. Keep me from hardening my heart and turning a deaf ear to your call. By the presence and power of your Spirit, Help me today to encourage those around me to love the Lord Jesus and walk with him to glory. May nothing I say or do place a stumbling block in the path of those who would follow you.

Peter Misselbrook