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Hebrews 3:14-19

Victor M. Eskew




A.  In the previous section, the writer had just exhorted his readers to hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end (Heb. 3:6).


B.   He now presents these Hebrew Christians with an example from their past, the children of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness.

1.    The text reveals many of the things the Israelites did and did not do.

a.    They did not hear God’s voice (Heb. 3:7).

b.    They hardened their hearts (Heb. 3:8, 15).

c.    They tempted and proved God (Heb. 3:9).

d.   They erred in their hearts (Heb. 3:10).

e.    They did not know the Lord’s ways (Heb. 3:10).

f.    They had evil hearts of unbelief (Heb. 3:12, 18-19).

g.    They were hardened through the deceitfulness of sin (Heb. 3:13).

h.    They provoked God (Heb. 3:16).

i.     They sinned (Heb. 3:17).

2.    The result was that they could not enter into the Lord’s rest (Heb. 3:11, 17-19).


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


3.    Ways to protect oneself from apostasy and condemnation.

a.    Hear the Lord’s voice (Heb. 3:7).

b.    Hardened not your hearts (Heb. 3:8, 15).

c.    Exhort one another daily (Heb. 3:13).

d.   Hold the beginning of your confidence stedfast unto the end (Heb. 3:13).

e.    NOTE:  These things need to be done TODAY! (Heb. 3:7, 15).


Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice…Whiles it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.


4.    Key Verse (Heb. 3:12)


Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.


C.  Outline:


I.         HEAR – HARDEN NOT (Heb. 3:7-9)

II.       ERRED – ENTERED NOT (Heb. 3:10-11)

III.      DEPART NOT – DIG IN (Heb. 3:12-14)

IV.      HEAR – HARDEN NOT (Heb. 3:15)

V.        BLOCKED – BELIEVED NOT (Heb. 3:16-19)


I.         HEAR – HARDEN NOT (Heb. 3:7-9)


II.       ERRED – ENTERED NOT (Heb. 3:10-11)


III.      DEPART NOT – DIG IN (Heb. 3:12-14)


A.  Depart not (Heb. 3:12)


B.   Dig in (Heb. 3:13-14)

1.    Exhort one another (Heb. 3:13)

2.    Hold the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end (Heb. 3:14)


For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence sted fast unto the end.


a.    A partaker is a sharer, a participant, an associate.

1)     There is a sense in which we share in Christ at the present.

2)    The fullness of our association with Him will come in the hereafter.

b.    We must hold…unto the end.

1)     Definition:  hold

a)    Strong (2722):  to hold down (fast)

b)    Thayer:  to hold fast, keep secure, keep firm possession of

2)    What must be held:  “…the beginning of our confidence…”

a)    Our confidence is defined as a setting under, steadfastness of mind, firmness, resolution, assurance

b)    When we began our Christian life, we had boldly committed to Jesus Christ and His teachings.  We trusted in them.

c)    These must be held unto the end.

c.    Stedfast unto the end

1)     Stedfast:  stable, fast, firm

2)    End

a)    Definition:  the conclusion of an act or state

b)    Two possibilities:

-       The Second Coming of Jesus Christ

-       The end of one’s life

3)     LESSON:  The Christian’s commitment is a life time commitment.  If we stop short at any point along the way, we will lose our salvation.


IV.      HEAR – HARDEN NOT (Heb. 3:15)


While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.


A.  This is a repeat of the words found in Hebrews 3:7b-8a.


B.   To day if ye will hear his voice

1.    God is speaking to His people.

a.    To Israel, he spake by Moses and the prophets.

b.    To Christians, He speaks through His Son Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:2).

c.    LESSON:  If one refuses to hear the Scriptures, he is rejecting the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

2.    We must “hear” what God has said.

a.    Take heed “how” ye hear (Luke 8:18).

b.    Take heed “what” ye hear (Mark 4:24).

c.    Be swift to hear (James 1:19).

3.    It is also important that we hear “to day.”

a.    Now, at present, this very day

b.    We have no promise of tomorrow (James 4:14; II Cor. 6:2b).

c.    The passing of time without giving hear to God’s Word will cause the heart to harden.


A.  Harden Not


Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:  when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.


1.    Definitions

a.    Harden

1)     Strong (4645):  come from the root meaning dry, hard, or tough… render stubborn

2)    Thayer:  to make hard, to render obstinate, stubborn

b.    Hearts

1)     Strong (2588):  (figuratively) the thoughts or feelings (mind)

2)    Thayer:  the center and seat of spiritual life, the soul or mind, as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavors

c.    Provocation

1)     Strong (3894):  irritation

2)    Thayer:  provocation

3)     Robertson:  embitterment, exasperation


V.        BELIEVED NOT - BLOCKED (Heb. 3:16-19)


A.  Believed not (Heb. 3:16-18)


For some, when they had heard, did provoke:  howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.  But with whom was he grieved forty years?  Was it not with them that had sinned whose carcases fell in the wilderness?  And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?


1.    When they heard, did provoke (Heb. 3:16)

a.    Definitions

1)     Heard

a)    Strong (191):  to hear

b)    Thayer:  to hear, to attend to, consider what is or has been said, to understand, perceive the sense of what is said

2)    Provoke

a)    Strong (3893):  to embitter alongside, that is, (figuratively) to exasperate

b)    Thayer:  to provoke, exasperate, to rouse to indignation

b.    Comments

1)     This is really the first of three questions the writer asks.  The KJV is somewhat confusing.  It could read:  “Who heard and did provoke?  Answer:  “All that came out of Egypt.”

2)    “The language is used to impress upon the Hebrew brethren the extent of disbelief” (Wacaster, 127).

3)     LESSON:  A mere awareness of truth is not sufficient.

4)     LESSON:  We also learn that disbelief manifests itself in actions.  Here, disbelief involves provoking the God of heaven.

2.    With whom was God grieved?  With them that sinned (Heb. 3:17)

a.    Definitions

1)     Grieved

a)    Strong (4360):  to be vexed with something irksome; to feel indignant at

b)    Thayer;  to be wroth or displeased with, to loath, to spew out, to be disgusted with

2)    Sinned

a)    Strong (264):  to miss the mark (and so not share in the prize), that is, to err, especially (morally) to sin

b)    Thayer:  to be without share in, to miss the mark, to err, be mistaken, to wander from the law of God, violate God’s law, sin

3)     Carcases

a)    Strong (2966):  a limb of the body

b)    Thayer:  a dead body, corpse, inasmuch as the members of the corpse are loose and fall apart

4)     Fell

a)    Strong (4098):  of a lighting, to fall

b)    Thayer:  to descend from an erect to a prostate position, to fall down, the dismemberment of a corpse by decay

5)     Wilderness

a)    Strong (2048):  lonesome, that is, waste

b)    Thayer:  solitary, lonely, desolate, uninhabitable, used of places, a desert, a wilderness

b.    Comments

1)     When we sin, we demonstrate unbelief.

2)    Each death of a Hebrew in the wilderness was a reminder of the divine sentence of God against the Israelites because of their unbelief.

3.    To whom sware He that they should not enter in?  To them that believed not (Heb. 3:18).

a.    Definitions

1)     Sware

a)    Strong (3660):  to swear, that is, take (or declare an) oath

b)    Thayer:  to affirm, promise, threaten, with an oath

2)    Enter

a)    Strong (1525):  to enter…enter in

b)    Thayer:  to enter…of entrance into any condition

3)     Rest

a)    Strong (2663):  reposing down, that is, …abode

b)    Thayer:  a resting place

4)     Believed not

a)    Strong (544):  to disbelieve (willfully and perversely)  :- not believe, disobedient, obey not, unbelieving

b)    Thayer:  not allow one’s self to be persuaded, to refuse belief and obedience

b.    Comments

1)     The ASV uses “disobedience” instead of “believed not.”

2)    The only effectual faith is a faith that leads to obedience.

3)     Thus far we have seen that provoking God and sinning are part of disbelief.  There were other things that were also involved in the Israelites disbelief.

a)    Fear

b)    Listening to weak men instead of an all-powerful God

c)    Minimizing the power of God and magnifying the size of the enemy


B.   Blocked (Heb. 3:19)


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


1.    Defintions

a.    See

1)     Strong (991):  to look at

2)    Thayer:  to see with the mind’s eye, to have (the power of) under-standing, to discern mentally, observe, perceive, discover, understand, to turn the thoughts or direct the mind to a thing, to consider, con-template, to look at, to weight carefully, examine

b.    Enter in

1)     Strong (1525):  to enter

2)    Thayer:  to enter, of entrance into any condition, state of things or society

c.    Unbelief

1)     Strong (510):  faithlessness, disbelief…unfaithfulness (disobedience)

2)    Thayer:  unfaithfulness, faithless, want of faith, unbelief, weakness of faith


a.    God does not take man’s sins lightly.

b.    We will not miss the physical rest of Canaan if we do not believe.  We will miss the eternal rest of heaven itself