I love this time of reading through the Scriptures and just allowing God to freely speak to me. It is a rewarding and growing experience. Over the last week and a bit I have been reading through the rest of Hebrews (ch.7-13). God has some powerful reminders for me and others as we walk this journey called life.
I found these chapters to be about COVENANTS. Have you ever made a covenant with God? In The Salvation Army, to become a soldier a person signs a Soldiers Covenant and also as an Officer in the Army one signs a covenant. I am blessed to have signed both of these. I often look at both of these signed documents that hang in my office. These are promises and commitments that I have made to God. Yes, they are being carried out through the work of The Salvation Army, but covenants are between you and God.
One of the things that jumped out at me in Chapter 7, was that a covenant is for life, not just a period of time. At this point in my life, I am okay with that. However, I do know of friends who signed an Officer’s Covenant who are no longer officers. I struggle with the changing or ending of a covenant, but like I have said a covenant that I sign is between me and God. What does covenant mean to you?
In chapter 8, I am reminded that once I have entered into this covenant it has erased everything that was before it. I am relieved! This means all the mistakes and wrong turns I took in my younger days have been erased. Yes, I have confessed years ago, but part of me still carried some guilt of these bad choices. God has erased them. It would be great if when God erases our past mistakes that they could be erased from others’ memories as well!
This chapter also challenges me to stay true to my covenant and not be trying to cut corners or take short cuts. Staying true to God only draws me closer to him. It is definitely a better decision for me to make. I think this is why I am often looking and re-reading my covenants to make sure that I am still upholding them.
But what happens when I fail? Chapter 9 reassures me that I need to continue in my covenant with God, daily seeking forgiveness, guidance, strength and comfort. It is a daily recommitment to him of the promises I have made. It is a daily fight to stay true to them and some days are better than others. God is there giving me the forgiveness and guidance I need.
The last several chapters of Hebrews is all about being faithful to the one true God. Persevere through the difficulties and hard times. Keep strong during the attacks. Standing firm in my faith in all times.
In Chapter 10, verse 22 really stuck out to me:
“let us go right into the presence of God, with true hearts fully trusting him. For our evil consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.” (NLT)
Going into God’s presence with a true, clean heart is such a wonderful experience. Reminding myself that Christ’s blood has made me clean. There is a song we sing that has the line, ‘Nothing but thy blood can cleanse me.’ What assurance we have that a sprinkle of Christ’s blood can cleanse us.
The history of the faithful noted in chapter 11 is always encouraging to me. No matter what I face, as long as I remain faithful to God everything will work out in the end. While the reward may not come while I am on this earth, I may receive it in heaven. But I am assured in these verses that God remains faithful on his promises when we remain faithful to him.
Encouragement and discipline. I like the first, but not too eager to receive the second! In chapter 12 we are reminded that God disciplines those he loves, those he considers his children. I am a child of God and will be disciplined by my Heavenly Father, just as I was disciplined by my earthly father in my youth.
However, we receive some encouragement in verses 5&6
“My child, don’t ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don’t be discouraged when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes those he accepts as his children.” (NLT)
Isn’t it wonderful to know that we are loved so much that God will take the time (and patience) to correct us when we make mistakes.
The final chapter in Hebrews reminds us to love each other and to help those in need. It also provides us with a warning. Don’t let new, strange ideas take us away from God. The world will tempt us in many ways and many new way of thinking that will draw us away from God. Stay close to God. Know when it is God speaking to you and when it is not. Verse 8 tells us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. If we believe this is true, then why is there a need to change what we believe.
Lately I have been challenged by this. There has been so many different opinions about different issues and when trying to stay firm to what the Bible tells us, I have been met with criticism and doubt. There is not doubt that the world has changed in the years since the Bible was written. But the truths of the Bible remain the same. I firmly believe that they are still relevant today as they were in the early days. I am standing firm on these beliefs and know that when I remain faithful to God, he will be there to give me the strength and guidance I need.
Keep strong, my friends!