“again He designates a certain day, saying in David, ‘Today,’ after such a long time, as it has been said: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts'” (Hebrews 4:7).
Just as Psalm 95:11 has already appeared several times in the Biblical book of Hebrews, Psalm 95:7-8 is also mentioned again here in Hebrews 4:7. What may be less obvious is the principle that underlies these passages.
You see, the author of Hebrews has worked to establish a Scriptural foundation for the teachings and conclusions that appear throughout this book. In this instance, Psalm 95 lays the groundwork that our author builds upon here in Hebrews chapter four. The following sources examine how Hebrews 4:7 draws upon the Biblical foundation of that passage…
“…in Psa 95:7-11 David hears God’s voice saying to the people that if they do not harden their hearts they can enter into his rest. That is to say, hundreds of years after Joshua had led the people into the rest of the Promised Land God is still appealing to them to enter into his rest. There is more to this rest than merely entry into the Promised Land.” (1)
“By dint of repetition our author endeavors to bring home to his readers the fact that the divine warning is as applicable to them as it was in the days of Moses or David. If they treat the saving message lightly, if they ‘tempt’ God by trying to see how far they can presume upon His patience, they in their turn will forfeit His ‘rest’. Therefore to them, as to the psalmist’s contemporaries, the urgent appeal goes forth: ‘While it is called To-day, repent And harden not your heart.'” (2)
Several New Testament authors follow a similar approach, including the Apostle Peter (Acts 2:16), Paul the Apostle (Acts 17:2-3), and James (James 2:10-11). Jesus also appealed to the authority of Scripture as He ejected those who were engaged in business activities at the Temple: “Then he taught them by saying, ‘Scripture says, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a gathering place for thieves” (Mark 11:15 GW).
Notice that Jesus established a Biblical basis for this action by saying, “It is written in the Scriptures…” (GNT). This principle is important to remember whenever we seek to address a perceived wrong, evaluate the actions of others, or justify our personal conduct. Much like the author of Hebrews 4:7, we should also seek to establish a Scriptural basis for our response in such instances.
(1) Barclay, William, William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible [Commentary on Hebrews 4]
(2) The New International Commentary On The New Testament – The Epistle To The Hebrews, F. F. Bruce, General Editor © Copyright 1964, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Grand Rapids, Michigan [pg. 108]