See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. —Hebrews 3:12-19

An unbelieving heart is a sinful— sin-filled heart. A person that does not believe in the Lord God Almighty is a person filled with sinful self. It is only what they think that matters. They do not listen to and heed the Word of God. They are like the foolish builder “who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice… who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matthew 7:26-27). Or as our Lord says in James 1:22-25— “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” Self deception is to hear the Word of God and not to do what He says.

A person is self deceived by not adhering to God’s Word and hardened by sin’s deception. This is what happened at Kadesh-Barnea (Deuteronomy 9:23-24). The people heard what God said, but they would not listen to Him. They rebelled against God’s Word and hardened their hearts. They were self deceived and hardened by sin and ten of the spies “spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored” (Numbers 13:32). These ten spies “who were responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the Lord” (Numbers 14:37). They had caused the whole community to grumble against Moses (Numbers 14:36).

It is a very serious thing for an individual to be deceived and it is quite another for that person to cause others to be deceived. Oh, that we would stick close to God’s Word—- hearing Him, growing in our relationship with Him and then do His will. Dear Father may this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. Yes, may this be so for the rest of my life!

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