Imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:12
The book of Hebrews was especially written to veteran Christians who were battling new threats and troubles (see Hebrews 10:32-36). The writer kept pointing his readers to God’s powerful promises, which we can claim for ourselves just as personally as the original readers. Here are three of them:
- The Promise of His Care: He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)
- The Promise of His Coming: For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. (Hebrews 10:37)
- The Promise of His Company: I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)
Hebrews 10:23 says, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews is also the book that reminds us the just will live by faith (Hebrews 10:38). Every book of the Bible contains great and mighty promises—especially Hebrews—and we need every promise God has given us so we can stand and look up without wavering.
Stand fast, without wishing for another trust, and without wavering in the trust you have. Charles Spurgeon
Labouring in Love – Hebrews 6:10-12
If there was a seminar on overcoming sin, many Christians would sign up, hoping to discover the secret to victory over their temptations. But the answer isn’t elusive; it’s right under our nose. All we need to do is open our Bible. Every answer the psalmist gives to his initial question of how to keep our ways pure involves Scripture.
Live according to God’s Word (Psalm 119:9-10). This means we must spend time reading and meditating on Scripture in order to know what it says and means. But that alone isn’t enough to guard us from sin; we must obey it.
Treasure God’s Word in your heart (Psalm 119:11). Since temptation usually comes unexpectedly, we must be prepared for it even when we can’t grab a Bible. That’s why having Scripture stored in our mind and heart is so important.
Rejoice in God’s Word (Psalm 119:14). There is great joy and peace that comes with knowing Scripture. In fact, it should be worth more to us than all the wealth and possessions this world offers.
Meditate on God’s Word (Psalm 119:15). We must take time to attune our heart and mind to the Lord, ponder His words, and receive the Spirit’s help translating His instructions for our particular situation. This isn’t a rushed process; it’s a slow yielding of ourselves to the truths we read as we discover how to apply them. And consistency may require a deliberate commitment.
When we faithfully practice biblical meditation, we will discover that the Holy Spirit has been busy transforming our thoughts, emotions, and actions so we’ll be more pleasing to God and less attracted to sinful pleasures. That is good news!
“In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6)
Four times in the book of Judges we are told that “there was no king in Israel in those days” (Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25), indicating that the book must have been compiled either by Samuel (the last judge) or someone else of his or a later generation. The first and last of these (which is the final verse in the book) add that “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” With no centralized government, there were only tribal leaders. Occasionally, one of these would acquire followers from other tribes; these were the “judges” whom God raised up to lead the people out of bondage on the occasions of widespread repentance and prayer.
The intervening periods were times of oppression by enemies and moral and spiritual chaos among the people. They did have a King, of course, but they refused Him, as did the men in the parable who “sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14). When they finally requested a human king, Samuel rebuked them for saying, “Nay; but a king shall reign over us: when the Lord your God was your king” (1 Samuel 12:12).
Lest we be too critical of the ancient Israelites for rejecting God as their king and going each his own way, that is essentially what people are doing today. “There is no fear of God before their eyes,” and they are “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (Romans 3:18; 2 Timothy 3:4). When every man believes what is comfortable and does as he pleases, he in effect becomes his own god, and this is nothing but humanism. But just as this ancient humanism was empty and the people soon desired a human king, so modern atheistic humanism will also revert to pantheism, and the world will then yield to a humanistic king to lead them on to a final deadly confrontation with the true King of kings. HMM
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Because He is loving and kind and friendly, the Holy Spirit may be grieved…. He can be grieved because He is loving, and there must be love present before there can be grief.
Suppose you had a seventeen-year-old son who began to go bad. He rejected your counsel and wanted to take things into his own hands. Suppose that he joined up with a young stranger from another part of the city and they got into trouble.
You were called down to the police station. Your boy—and another boy whom you had never seen—sat there in handcuffs.
You know how you would feel about it. You would be sorry for the other boy—but you don’t love him because you don’t know him. With your own son, your grief would penetrate to your heart like a sword. Only love can grieve. If those two boys were sent off to prison, you might pity the boy you didn’t know, but you would grieve over the boy you knew and loved. A mother can grieve because she loves. If you don’t love, you can’t grieve. COU051-052
Lord, I think I take Your love for granted and consequently forget how grieved You are when I sin. Overwhelm me today with Your love, so that I might be more careful to not grieve You. Amen.
You will not abandon me to the realm of the dead. . . . You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.
It always amazes me the way peace—powerful, unexplainable peace (Philippians 4:7)—can somehow fill our hearts even in our deepest grief. I experienced this most recently at my father’s memorial service. As a long line of sympathetic acquaintances passed by offering their condolences, I was relieved to see a good high school friend. Without a word, he simply wrapped me in a long bear hug. His quiet understanding flooded me with the first feelings of peace within grief that difficult day, a powerful reminder that I wasn’t as alone as I felt.
As David describes in Psalm 16, the kind of peace and joy God brings into our lives isn’t caused by a choice to stoically stomp down the pain during hard times; it’s more like a gift we can’t help but experience when we take refuge in our good God (vv. 1–2).
We could respond to the aching pain that death brings by distracting ourselves, perhaps thinking that turning to these other “gods” will keep the pain at bay. But sooner or later we’ll find that efforts to avoid our pain only bring deeper pain (v. 4).
Or we could turn to God, trusting that even when we don’t understand, the life He’s already given us—even in its pain—is still beautiful and good (vv. 6–8). And we can surrender to His loving arms that tenderly carry us through our pain into a peace and joy that even death can never quench (v. 11).
Father, thank You for the way Your tender touch embraces and holds us in our times of joy and pain. Help us to turn in trust to You for healing.
In the shadow of His hand hath He hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in His quiver hath He hid me; and said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.—Isaiah 49:2, 3.
The glory is not in the task,
but in the doing it for Him.
It is wholly impossible to live according to Divine order, and to make a proper application of heavenly principles, as long as the necessary duties which each day brings seem only like a burden grievous to be borne, Not till we are ready to throw our very life’s love into the troublesome little things can we be really faithful in that which is least and faithful also in much. Every day that dawns brings something to do, which can never be done as well again. We should, therefore, try to do it ungrudgingly and cheerfully. It is the Lord’s own work, which He has given us as surely as He gives us daily bread. We should thank Him for it with all our hearts, as much as for any other gift. It was designed to be our life, our happiness. Instead of shirking it or hurrying over it, we should put our whole heart and soul into it.
“I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isa. 41:10
Fear of falling is wholesome. To be venturesome is no sign of wisdom. Times come to us when we feel that we must go down unless we have a very special support. Here we have it. God’s right hand is a grand thing to lean upon. Mind, it is not only His hand, though it keepeth Heaven and earth in their places, but His right hand: His power united with skill, His power where it is most dexterous. Nay, this is not all, it is written, “I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” That hand which He uses to maintain His holiness, and to execute His royal sentences — this shall be stretched out to hold up His trusting ones. Fearful is our danger, but joyful is our security. The man whom God upholds, devils cannot throw down.
Weak may be our feet, but almighty is God’s right hand. Rough may be the road, but Omnipotence is our upholding. We may boldly go forward. We shall not fall. Let us lean continually where all things lean. God will not withdraw His strength, for His righteousness is there as well: He will be faithful to His promise, and faithful to His Son, and therefore faithful to us. How happy we ought to be! Are we not so?