My journey this week has led me to the book of Hebrews. Quick, tell me a few key points about Hebrews? Having trouble? Maybe you said "faith", chapter 11 is famous for the Heroes of Faith and we get two very familiar verses, "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (Here it is in the Message: "The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.") The other is verse 6, "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him." Clearly, faith is a key point of Hebrews.
I think I can safely say that "faith" is the biggest part of my journey right now. Not that I have mastered it, but that my journey demands it, whether I heed or not. It is like God saying to Abraham, pack your bags, start walking and I will tell you when to turn left or right (Gen. 12:1). That's how our family feels, except we haven't packed our bags yet. Just before this incredible chapter of faith, comes a warning that you seldom hear. The author of Hebrews quotes the prophet Habakkuk (2:4) where he says "my righteous one shall live by faith" (also quoted by Paul in Rom. 1:17 and Gal. 3:11). But then Hebrews 10:38 goes on to say, "buy my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him." Ouch! That hurts, because I know there are days that I retreat, I withdraw, I speculate in human wisdom and see an impossible situation before me. Imagine doing something, that you can totally avoid, but you do it anyway knowing that it will hurt your spouse, your children or someone close to you. Does your heart ache when you displease God?
This book is full of encouraging words to Christ-followers that are experiencing trials and suffering. This is a fresh look back at the work of Christ that magnifies his absolute supremacy and sufficiency. There are only 13 chapters, maybe read a chapter a day for the next two weeks or two chapters a day and spend the next week in Hebrews. There are some hidden gems in this book and you won't walk away the same. Here's just a few highlights that I found ultra-encouraging:
"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." 4:16
"In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence." 5:7
A TIP FOR PRAYER
As you bow in prayer to our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father remember to whom you are praying. Approach the throne with reverence and don't be in a hurry. Through the sacrifice of God's Son, we have incredible anytime/anywhere access to the one that created everything. Hebrews 2:8, 10 says that God put everything in subjection to Jesus, he left nothing outside his control. For whom and by whom all things exist. Everything was created for His glory so come boldly, come often but come offering the right attitude before a holy and awesome God (even as Jesus did in the flesh).
Here's an excerpt from one of my favorite authors, A.W. Tozer:
"Most of us go through life praying a little, planning a little, jockeying for position, hoping but never being quite certain of anything, and always secretly afraid that we will miss the way. This is a tragic waste of truth and never gives rest to the heart.
There is a better way. It is to repudiate our own wisdom and take instead the infinite wisdom of God. Our insistence upon seeing ahead is natural enough, but it is a real hindrance to our spiritual progress. God has charged Himself with full responsibility for our eternal happiness and stands ready to take over the management of our lives the moment we turn in faith to Him....
With the goodness of God to desire our highest welfare, the wisdom of God to plan it, and the power of God to achieve it, what do we lack? Surely we are the most favored of all creatures." The Knowledge of the Holy, 97, 99