The inspired writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews calls that letter “a word of exhortation” (13:22). Hebrew Christians were tiring of standing against opposition to their faith, and were in danger of leaving their commitment to Christ.
The approach in chapter 3 is to remind them of the children of God under the former dispensation, and how they had allowed great opportunities to enjoy the promises of God slip right through their hands:
12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has an evil, unbelieving heart that forsakes the living God. 13 But exhort one another each day, as long as it is called “Today,” that none of you may become hardened by sin’s deception. 14 For we have become partners with Christ, if in fact we hold our initial confidence firm until the end. 15 As it says, “Oh, that today you would listen as he speaks! Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” 16 For which ones heard and rebelled? Was it not all who came out of Egypt under Moses’ leadership? 17 And against whom was God provoked for forty years? Was it not those who sinned, whose dead bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear they would never enter into his rest, except those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they could not enter because of unbelief (Heb. 3:12-19, NET).
We would do well to remember that the warnings of God are always given for good reason.
When the writer spoke of the Israelites who left Egypt under Moses’ leadership only to rebel against God and refuse to obey, he said their “dead bodies fell in the wilderness.” This would be a reference to the wilderness of Sinai.
Photos such as this give the setting of some of the territory Israel would have occupied during that period of 40 years when God was waiting for that unbelieving generation to die.
When you see palm trees such as these it is an indication that there is water.
Click on images for larger view.