Advent 6: Psalm 95 & Hebrews 3.7-4.1

From Jonathan Baker

Today's Psalm ends with a strong exhortation, repeated in the passage in Hebrews, to respond to God's call if we hear His voice. But equally important, I think, is the prior context the psalmist establishes for the exhortation. In these preceding verses, we are called to praise and worship God, not only because He is a great God (vs. 1-5), but because He is our God (vs. 6-7). I presume most of us would answer our phones if we saw that a close friend or family member was calling. We would also likely answer our phones if we saw "The White House" pop up on our caller ID. But when God calls us, we are being spoken to by one who knows us better than our closest friend and one who is more powerful than any earthly leader. How can we not respond? Sometimes I find myself wondering to what it is I am to respond. It is an encouragement to me in such times (while still allowing for God's specific revelation), to consider that God's call to me is communicated through His word, and that the church seasons provide an opportunity to reflect upon various of God's commands with special focus. I would offer that His call to me, to all of us, during this season of advent, is one of repentance and hopeful expectation. But what of times that I do recognize God's voice and yet do not respond. In today's passage, the author of Hebrews provides the reason; unbelief. But unbelief in what? I tend to ignore exhortations if I do not take seriously the one giving it, and so I wonder if there is a sense in which this unbelief is an unbelief in the existence of God, or at least a denial that God is all who He claims to be. And so perhaps the call of Advent is first a call to pray simply "Lord I believe, help me with my unbelief".

I am a PhD student in Public Policy at Harvard, specifically interested in water. I run a lot in my free time, and generally enjoy the outdoors.