We just finished Christmas in the Christian calendar, and are soon to come upon Easter. In the Jewish calendar, we just had the High Holy Days and Chanukah, and will soon have Passover and Shavuos (Pentecost). Other calendars have their special days. Usually they celebrate something in the past. But on God’s calendar there is a day that celebrates the present (and perhaps the future), that is more important than Easter or Yom Kippur. What is the most important day on the calendar; Today.
O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. (Ps 95:6-9)
The psalmist saw the value of today. Can we worship yesterday? We can have worshiped. But that was yesterday, not today. Can we worship tomorrow? It is impossible, because we can do nothing tomorrow. By the time we are able to do it, it is today.
Moreover, today is not yesterday. Today, harden not your hearts. When the psalmist wrote this, the wanderings in the wilderness were distant history. If David wrote this psalm, there had been 450 years since the events of which he spoke. That is equivalent, roughly, to the English history of America. That is William the Conqueror to Henry VIII. Yet he says, “Today, harden not your heart.” You are not your ancestors. You are not responsible for their sins. Rather, you have to decide your own course. Today.
The writer of the letter to the Hebrew Christians also uses this passage as an admonition. The Israelites who rebelled did not enter into the rest of the Promised Land. Instead, they all died in the wilderness. Should we, like them, die and fail to achieve the rest?
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. (Heb 3:12-15)
Did Israel enter the land? Some did, but not the generation that rebelled. For nearly forty years they wandered until all but two who were over the age of twenty had died. We must not be like them, but we cannot do it alone. This passage says, “exhort one another daily.” The danger comes daily. Each person may today choose to believe, or to harden their heart. If we face that choice alone, the danger is greater that we will fall into unbelief. That is why the writer encourages us to help our fellow Christians daily.
This is a practice we have gotten away from. Many see their fellows maybe two days a week. We don’t know what our brothers and sisters are going through because we hardly know them. And yet, we are told to exhort them daily, while it is today.
Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. (Heb 4:7)
He “limits” a certain day. The Greek word is the one from which we get horizon. God has set a boundary on the time we have to believe and obey. That boundary is today. Yes, there may be future todays in which we have the opportunity to believe, but we cannot know that.
What is the most important day on the calendar? It is today, because today is the only day we have. We don’t have a time machine that can take us into the future. If we must celebrate a day on the calendar, let us celebrate Today.