So That You May Not Grow Weary – Hebrews 12-13

In Hebrews chapter 12, the writer offers encouragement to the Christians he addresses. Some were no doubt experiencing persecution. All throughout the gospel, we are told of trials and suffering that we will endure. It should, then, come as no surprise to us when they occur.

English: Pagans kill Christians in Pliska.

English: Pagans kill Christians in Pliska. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The writer speaks of trials that we experience because of the sinful world that we live in. Those who dwell in that darkness are hostile to us, as they were then. On that subject, he reminds them of Jesus:

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.  In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

That is true of most of us. But many have died in those days, and even today we see that Christians are being killed for their faith.  So then in chapter 13, he quotes from Psalm 27:1, saying “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

We might say, “well they can kill me!” Jesus said in Luke 12:4: “do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.” Our lives here in a world that is not our home are simply the beginning. Beyond this life, no man has power of any kind over us.

The other kind of suffering the writer talks about has to do with the normal day-to-day trials, pain, grief, and yes, even suffering of a physical and mental nature. God does not cause bad things to happen to us. But He will allow them to happen if it will strengthen us and build our endurance.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Hebrews

Heb. 9, Heb. 10, Heb. 11, Heb. 12, Heb. 13

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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

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All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

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Psalm 119:1-8; Psalm 1 – The Way of the Righteous

English: Aleph is the first letter of hebrew A...

English: Aleph is the first letter of hebrew Alphabet Deutsch: Aleph ist der Erste Buchstabe des Hebräischen Alphabets (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today we begin our reading of Psalm 119 with the first 8 verses.  It is the longest chapter in the Bible (176 verses), and it is one of a few acrostics in the Bible, employing all 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet in its structure.  We will have more to say about this incredible structure in this weekends preview of the coming week.  But for now we’ll focus on the Scripture itself.  These eight verses are brought to you by the letter “Aleph.”

As with the other 21 stanzas, these eight verses employ different synonyms for the word “law” (testimonies, precepts, statutes, commandments, rules).  These verses declare not only that God wants us to be diligent in keeping His commandments (verse 4), but also that by doing so our lives are blessed, and we can worship Him with our hearts in the right place.  It doesn’t mean that we can ever be truly blameless,  but our intentions to live according to His word will give us an “upright heart” (verses 5-7).

Psalm 1 begins in the first verse speaking instead on the path that the righteous do not take.  Two kinds of people are spoken of throughout the Bible – the servants of God and the enemies of the Lord.  It is the heart that chooses which of those paths one will not take that makes him part of the other group.  There is no middle ground.  Those who choose not to take the advice and example of the wicked are happy living under God’s law (verse 2).  Their lives endure the test of time by choosing righteousness (verse 3), but evil will not triumph in the long course of time (verses 4-6).

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy

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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Hebrews 11 – By Faith

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow to the Babylonian king's golden statue, so the king ordered them thrown into a fiery furnace. But God protected them (Daniel 3)

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow to the Babylonian king’s golden statue, so the king ordered them thrown into a fiery furnace. But God protected them (Daniel 3)

Famous for the great description of faith in verse 1 (“faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”), Hebrews 11 is (arguably most unfortunately) often called the “Hall of Faith” or the “Faith Hall of Fame.” Most of the accounts of people in this chapter are familiar to most people.  Some of the references are not so clear, and some maybe not so familiar.  Verse 33’s reference to those who “quenched the power of fire” is likely of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from Daniel 2:49-3:30.  Verse 35’s women who “received back their dead by resurrection” is likely (among others) of Elijah raising the son of the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:17-24) and Elisha raising the son of a Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4:18-37).  Verse 37’s gruesome deaths may refer to the extra-biblical accounts of the deaths of Jeremiah and Isaiah.

But this chapter is not an account of extraordinary men and women with supreme faith.  It is rather the story of ordinary men and women like you and me, who because of their faith in God, were blessed with the power and grace of His mighty hand.  It is the story of their endurance and perseverance through all manner of evil against them and bitter times, and how that endurance saw them through it by their faith.  It is the assurance that the recipients of this letter can persevere by their faith through the endurance the writer encouraged them to have in chapter 10.  It is the assurance that we can do it as well.  We have a better promise, through a better covenant, and if we are faithful, we will receive our reward – which will be the same perfect reward those mentioned in this chapter will ultimately receive (verses 39-40).

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.