They Have not Known my Ways

For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.

Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, and as in the day of Massah in the wilderness, when your fathers tested Me and tried Me, though they had seen My deeds. For forty years I loathed that generation and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.”

Therefore I swore in My wrath, “They shall not enter into My rest.”

Psalm 95:7–11 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

I think of these things. I ponder over this idea as it is written in the book of Hebrews. It almost follows this word-for-word. Yet, these are written in the praises Israelis sang to God.

The writer of Hebrews is clear. (I will leave you to find that. I’ve written of it on the past.) He says the Israelites of that generation could not enter His rest because of unbelief.

Of that idea… Some will sometimes use that to teach that the Israelites who didn’t enter somehow lost their salvation. That isn’t so. The indictment against them is clear. “They have not known my ways.” They didn’t believe.

They saw all of what He did for them, but they didn’t know Him. They were afraid of Him. They missed the tender compassion of leading, protecting, and providing for them. That is clearly seen at their reaction when the Lord’s voice thundered from Mt. Sinai (Hebrew 13 summarizes that.) At that time He spoke the law. I am certain as one hears the law has spoken, the immediate reaction to “you shall not” is to apply that personally.

As a result, they were looking at themselves in the mirror of the law. They would see their inadequacies. That would make anyone afraid. Yet God still wanted them to approach Him.

Had they looked to God instead of themselves, trusting that He indeed wanted to meet and commune with them, they could have eventually entered the Promised Land.

See, those Ten Commandments weren’t for us. Well not in the way you’ve probably come to know. They aren’t to be used to measure yourself against and see how good you are. We all fail at it. We couldn’t live up to that standard.

These and the other laws and ordinances were there as a pattern, as all of the Law is… A teacher intended to lead Israel to Jesus. He fulfilled all of those commands. He never appeared before the priest at the temple to give a sin offering.

I am now wondering, did the priests know?

Did they talk among themselves about that?

It’s interesting, yet I ramble.

Every single command in the law has a purpose, to point people to Jesus. That they would easily recognize something very different about Him when He came.

It’s the same for us. We innately know we don’t measure up to the standard. God gives. It is near impossible for any of us to approach Him through the good we do.

But the law points to The Way. It is the other mount of approach… Zion. The one with great company. The one with the new city of God.

He wants you there. He wants you to know His ways. That He forgives iniquity. Today if you hear His voice, don’t cower, don’t run away. Don’t garden your heart. And don’t depend on someone else to approach God on your behalf. Only you can do it for your own salvation.

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