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After almost a half century of Bible study, one thing is readily apparent–God looks first at the heart, then at the actions.  The writer of Hebrews gets to the meat of the Christian life–it is a heart issue.  He discussed the folks that were literally freed from slavery and led from Egypt by God himself.  He provided protection, provision and a plan to free them and give them the lives they longed for.  

Yet, in the end–those people died in the desert. It was not that they failed to follow the lead, they simply refused to trust God and fully submit to his leadership.  They followed the basic rules, they even did all the traditional things–but the truth was that they never let go of being slaves and embraced the freedom God offered them.  So, God could not allow them to enter the life he had prepared.

As his kids, we are always at the same crossroads. We can go through the motions of the Christian life–check the boxes and keep the traditions–but, unless we surrender our hearts to him, we will never experience the freedom he offers.  If, however, we choose to simply trust and follow him–the boxes to check become irrelevant–our heart will project an attitude that only a loving child can have for a loving and devoted father.  If we live that life, we will experience freedom and joy that pours beyond all things.  We will be the chosen children and be blessed beyond measure.

God Bless You

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,
where your ancestors tested and tried me,
    though for forty years they saw what I did.
10 That is why I was angry with that generation;
    I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,
    and they have not known my ways.’
11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”[b]

12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. 15 As has just been said:

“Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts
    as you did in the rebellion.”[c]

16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness?18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.