For we have come to share in Messiah, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. As it is said, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion."
Many look at the day of their salvation, the day they recognize Messiah as their Redeemer, as an end in itself. They do not recognize that it is actually a means to an end, the beginning of a process to be completed. The program of full redemption is very well illustrated for us in the story of the Exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land. This is where we find what I will coin as the ‘Four Steps of Full Redemption’.
First we are rescued, or saved from the angel of death coming upon the land. This salvation is purely by God’s choosing. Jew or Gentile who obeys the instruction concerning the lamb’s blood on the doorposts of their houses will be ‘saved’ and eligible to leave Egypt that very night. There is no ‘Torah’ yet. Only one thing is required regardless of who we are or of our past: the blood of the lamb. That’s the first step.
Second, we must cross the Red Sea. This step takes us out of Egypt. With the help of mighty miracles from God, we have left our old life and culture behind. Paul referred to the crossing of the Red Sea to a national immersion, or baptism (1 Corinthians 10:1-2). That’s the second step.
Third, we go to Mt Horeb to receive the Torah. We have left our old life, culture, and country behind. We need a new life, a new identity in a new country, a new culture, under a new king, with a new set of rules. Going to Mt Horeb provides us with the Instructions for our new life in our new kingdom. That’s the third step.
Finally, after experimenting and learning to live under this new set of rules, we enter the Promised Land, receiving full citizenship of the Kingdom. This is the fourth and final step.
In Hebrews, the writer warns us about not making the same mistake the first generation did in the desert fearing to accomplish the last and final step of entering the land because of unbelief. I do not know what this exactly means but the warning remains. They were like the bride who got ‘cold feet’. She went through the whole ordeal and great expense of getting married, but in the end feared to move in with the groom.
The writer of Hebrews speaks of entering the Promised Land as the Shabbat. We have to make a conscious effort to enter the Shabbat. We have to agree to stop our personal activities; we have to trust that God will supply if we stop working; to enter the Shabbat we have to literally surrender ourselves to God. Is this what the Children of Israel feared? Without surrender there is no peace, and no Shabbat.
May we learn to surrender to Him every Shabbat so that we do not harden our hearts at His Voice when He calls in to enter that final step of entering the Promised Land of His Kingdom when it is established on earth as it is in Heaven.