A portion of this chapter forms an interesting chiastic structure:
1a) Heb 3:6b-9, Hold fast our confidence to the end + Today, do not harden your hearts:
— 1a.1) Heb 3:6b, If we hold fast the confidence + rejoicing of hope firm to the end;
— 1a.2) Heb 3:7-8a, “Today, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,”
— 1a.3) Heb 3:8b-10a, “Wilderness + your fathers tested Me forty years/ I was angry with that generation;”
1b) Heb 3:10b, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways;’
central axis) Heb 3:11, So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest;’”
2b) Heb 3:12-13, Evil heart of unbelief/ departing from God + hardened through the deceitfulness of sin;
2a) Heb 3:14-17, Hold confidence steadfast to the end + Today, do not harden your hearts:
— 2a.1) Heb 3:14, Partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end;
— 2a.2) Heb 3:15, “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion;”
— 2a.3) Heb 3:16-17, They rebelled who came out of Egypt + angry forty years with those who sinned.
Rebellion is man’s second- oldest problem. It caused Adam’s Fall and his (our) expulsion from Eden and the presence of God. Rebellion is merely, the unwillingness to receive a command from God, and obey it. Adam did not obey the command to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Disobedience to God is sin, for sin is lawlessness (1 Joh 3:4) – refusal to obey God’s Law or commandments.
But we learn from Israel’s example, that rebellion comes from a hard heart, and a hard heart comes from unbelief. God speaks a command. The heart which hears it and believes in God, and in God’s right, responsibility, or wisdom to express truth by His Word, including commandments, receives His Word and His command, and obeys it. The heart which hears it and does not believe in God, or does not believe that God has the right as Creator and Ruler to speak commands, or that God has the responsibility as Creator and Ruler to direct His creation according to His will, or that God does not have the wisdom to know what is true or best, hardens his heart so that His word cannot penetrate his heart, and he does not obey Him. He rebels.
This is why obedience is an accurate measure or test of the one whose heart is circumcised toward God (one who is saved, Mat 7:21-23, 1 Cor 6:9-10), but it is not what makes a heart circumcised toward God (works of the Law do not save us, Gal 2:16).
Therefore do not fear to obey God or to walk in His commandments, beloved. Obedience does not disqualify our faith, but illuminates it so that it is evident to all, even as Abraham’s obedience in the binding of Isaac illuminated the extent that his heart trusted in the Lord his God. *smile*