Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, Today - These words are quoted from Psalm 95:7; and as they were written by David, and attributed here to the Holy Ghost, it proves that David wrote, by the inspiration of God's Holy Spirit. As these words were originally a warning to the Israelites not to provoke God, lest they should be excluded from that rest which he had promised them, the apostle uses them here to persuade the Christians in Palestine to hold fast their religious privileges, and, the grace they had received, lest they should come short of that state of future glory which Christ had prepared for them. The words strongly imply, as indeed does the whole epistle, the possibility of falling from the grace of God, and perishing everlastingly; and without this supposition these words, and all such like, which make more than two-thirds of the whole of Divine revelation, would have neither sense nor meaning. Why should God entreat man to receive his mercy, if he have rendered this impossible? Why should he exhort a believer to persevere, if it be impossible for him to fall away? What contemptible quibbling have men used to maintain a false and dangerous tenet against the whole tenor of the word of God! Angels fell - Adam fell - Solomon fell - and multitudes of believers have fallen, and, for aught we know, rose no more; and yet we are told that we cannot finally lose the benefits of our conversion! Satan preached this doctrine to our first parents; they believed him, sinned, and fell; and brought a whole world to ruin!
Wherefore - In view of the fact that the Author of the Christian dispensation has a rank far superior to that of Moses. Because Christ has claims on us far greater than those which Moses had, let us hearken to his voice, and dread his displeasure.
As the Holy Ghost saith - In Psalm 95:7-11. This is full proof that in the estimation of the author of this Epistle the writer of this Psalm was inspired. The Holy Spirit speaks through the word which he has revealed. The apostle quotes this passage and applies it to those whom he addressed, because the admonition was as pertinent and important under the Christian dispensation, as it was under the Jewish. The danger of hardening the heart by neglecting to hear his voice was as great, and the consequences would be as fearful and alarming. We should regard the solemn warnings in the Old Testament against sin, and against the danger of apostasy, as addressed by the Holy Spirit to us. They are as applicable to us as they were to those to whom they were at first addressed; and we need all the influence of such appeals, to keep us from apostasy as much as they did.
Today - Now; at present. At the very time when the command is addressed to you. It is not to be put off until tomorrow. All God‘s commands relate to “the present” - to this day - to the passing moment. He gives us no commands “about the future.” He does not require us to repent and to turn to him “tomorrow,” or 10 years hence. The reasons are obvious:
(1)Duty pertains to the present. It is our duty to turn from sin, and to love him now.
(2)we know not that we shall live to another day. A command, therefore, could not extend to that time unless it were accompanied with “a revelation” that we should live until then - and such a revelation God does not choose to give. Every one, therefore, should feel that whatever commands God addresses to him are addressed to him now. Whatever guilt he incurs by neglecting those commands is incurred now. For the present neglect and disobedience each one is to answer - and each one must give account to God for what he does today.
If ye will hear - In case you are willing to hearken to God, listen now, and do not defer it to a future period. There is much in a “willingness” to hear the voice of God. A willingness to learn is usually the precursor of great attainments in knowledge. A “willingness” to reform, is usually the precursor of reformation. Get a man “willing” to break off his habits of profaneness or intemperance, and usually all the rest is easy. The great difficulty in the mind of a sinner is in his will. He is unwilling to hear the voice of God; unwilling that he should reign over him; unwilling now to attend to religion. While this unwillingness lasts he will make no efforts, and he sees, or creates a thousand difficulties in the way of his becoming a Christian. But when that unwillingness is overcome, and he is disposed to engage in the work of religion, difficulties vanish, and the work of salvation becomes easy.
His voice - The voice of God speaking to us:
(1)in his written word;
(2)in the preached gospel;
(3)in our own consciences;
(4)in the events of his Providence;
(5)in the admonitions of our relatives and friends. Whatever conveys to us the truth of God, or is adapted to impress that on us, may be regarded as “his voice” speaking to us. He thus speaks to us “every day” in some of these ways; and every day, therefore, he may entreat us not to harden our hearts.
Oh, that now, while it is called today, you would turn to the Lord! Your every deed is making you either better or worse. If your actions are on Satan's side, they leave behind them an influence that continues to work its baleful results. Only the pure, the clean, and the holy can enter the city of God, “Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts,” but turn to the Lord, that the path you travel may not leave desolation in its track.13 AH 358.1
Minister to Treat Children With Kindness and Courtesy—Let the kindness and courtesy of the minister be seen in his treatment of children. He should ever bear in mind that they are miniature men and women, younger members of the Lord's family. These may be very near and dear to the Master and, if properly instructed and disciplined, will do service for Him, even in their youth. Christ is grieved with every harsh, severe, and inconsiderate word spoken to children. Their rights are not always respected, and they are frequently treated as though they had not an individual character which needs to be properly developed that it may not be warped and the purpose of God in their lives prove a failure.14 AH 358.2
Let the church take a special care of the lambs of the flock, exerting every influence in their power to win the love of the children and to bind them to the truth. Ministers and church members should second the efforts of parents to lead the children into safe paths. The Lord is calling for the youth, for He would make them His helpers to do good service under His banner.15 AH 358.3Read in context »
To know oneself is great knowledge. True self-knowledge leads to a humility that will open the way for the Lord to develop the mind and mold and discipline the character. No teacher can do acceptable work who does not bear in mind his own deficiencies and does not put aside all plans that would weaken spiritual life. When teachers are willing to lay aside that which is unessential for the life eternal, then it can be said that they are working out their own salvation with fear and trembling, and that they are building wisely for eternity. CT 419.1Read in context »
There will be no second probation. Now, while it is called today, if we will hear the voice of the Lord, and turn fully to Him, He will have mercy upon us, and abundantly pardon. AG 319.6Read in context »