Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Homily 6

Hebrews 3:7 - 4:10

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:

"Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
In the day of trial in the wilderness,
Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me,
And saw My works forty years.
Therefore I was angry with that generation,
And said, 'They always go astray in their heart,
And they have not known My ways.'
So I swore in My wrath,
'They shall not enter My rest.' "

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;

but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,

while it is said:

"Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion."

For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses?

Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sined, whose corpses fell in the wilderness?

And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey?

So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.

For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.

For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said:

"So I swore in My wrath,
'They shall not enter My rest,' "

although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: "And God rested on the seventh day from all His works"; and again in this place: "They shall not enter My rest."

Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience,

again He designates a certain day, saying in David, "Today," after such a long time, as it has been said:

"Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts."

For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day.

There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.

For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.


Having established the reality of victory for the faithful, Paul exhorts the faithful to remain steadfast. Their predecessors, he cautions, fell away even after having witnessed God at work. Faithlessness leads to rebellion against God's rest, but faithfulness leads to rest.


What strikes me in Chrysostom's commentary on this passage is his insight that the Israelites did not want to enter Canaan-- and it is because they refused to enter God's rest that they did not enter his rest.