Today’s bible study is Hebrews 3:13: Exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
In this slightly less familiar passage, we are taught that we should exhort one another daily. This is something we do not really do. When was the last time you exhorted someone? It’s become a seldom used word in our vocabularies, and something in which we simply do not consciously engage ourselves. But, if we read the translation in the New International Version of the bible, it replaces the word exhort with encourage. in Hebrews, we are essentially being told to encourage one another daily.
We all tend to encourage others, whether it is a child getting ready for school or doing homework, a spouse leaving for work, a coworker doing their tasks beside us, or a friend we happen to exchange greetings with. We often encourage others directly, suggestion that they actually do something or keep going or try harder. We also practice encouragement through a smile, through our own example, and through kindness. We are all familiar with the old saying, ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going.’ And this is often exactly how we live and how we work throughout our days.
Clark’s Commentary on the Bible explains: Use time while you have: it, for by and by there will be no more present time; all will be future; all will be eternity. Daily signifies time continued and today, all present time. Your fathers said: Let us make ourselves a captain, and return back unto Egypt (Numbers 14:4). Thus they exhorted each other to depart from the living God. Be warned by their example; let not that unbelieving heart be in you that was in them; exhort each other daily to cleave to the living God; lest, if you do not, like them, you may be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
The second line of this verse is far more challenging to contemplate. We need to encourage others around us every day for fear that we become hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. What does it mean to become hardened? What is the deceitfulness of sin?
The hardness referred to may best be understood as a hardness of the heart or the spirit. This may express itself as a closed-fisted, defensive attitude, a sense of arrogance, or an unwillingness to accept and compromise. It is the difference between an open hand and a closed fist, a warm smile and a cold glare. This is the softness of spirit that we, as children of God, try to have in our lives. It is a softness of the heart and spirit that allows everyone entry, welcomes them warmly, forgives them easily, and loves unconditionally.
The deceitfulness of sin is more difficult, yet can simply be shortened to mean sin. If we have sin within our hearts, if we are living in secrecy, if we are not being entirely truthful with ourselves or with God, we are closing ourselves off through the sin of deceit.
The Syriac version of the bible explains this quite eloquently: Until the everlasting day appears, when there will be neither need of such exhortations, nor any danger of what follows: lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Every sin is of a hardening nature, and by frequently repeating it, man grows hardened in it.
May we be ever mindful of the importance of encouraging others every day, through out words, our deeds and our example. And may we also remain without sin and deceit as we follow, as best we can, in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ.
References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock, The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur and Concise Bible Commentary, David S. Dockery, General Editor
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