Todays readings.. Joshua 17, Isaiah 23, Hebrews 3,4&5
“IF YOU HEAR”
As we continue reading Hebrews we notice its many quotations from the Old Testament. Notice how many of these quotations contain that vitally important little word “IF” ! A major point Paul makes is that the readers should learn from the failures of the past, but will “hear” what is written. Do we “hear” as we read?
In chapter 3 v.4 we read that “the builder of all things is God.” Paul is developing his points in the opening chapters as we saw yesterday. We sometimes refer to God as the Master Architect – and so he is – for he planned all things from the beginning of the world, but he is also “the builder” who is carrying out his plan, a builder who looks for those with the vision to work together with him in its construction (see 2 Cor.6 v.1). Paul saw himself as God’s “skilled master builder” [1 Cor.3 v.10]
Where is skill needed? In allowing for the freewill of human nature and fitting that into the overall planning. Remember how we read earlier this month of the ‘Crisis Conference’ in Jerusalem? It was James who summed up their deliberations by quoting the prophet Amos that “the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord” [Acts 15 v.17] Let each of us be a ‘seeker.’
. Twice in Hebrews Ch. 3 [v.7,15] and again in Ch. 4 v.7 words from Psalm 95 are quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice”! David, in this Psalm, was awake to the voice of God, especially the lessons to be learnt from the past failures of his nation under Moses and Joshua that we have been reading this month. David had a particular failure later in his life but he learnt that God is merciful to those who have a genuine God fearing attitude – and he had this far more than most men – a ‘real’ relationship with God.
The Master builder is looking to shape us and make us part of his building. We read that “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” [Heb.4 v.12]
Jesus is the living word, “the word made flesh” [John 1 v.14] so that God could speak to us through Him. We have God’s words in our hands; if we use them rightly they provide an unlimited source of strength in service to him, and we realize more and more that we are part of God’s building. All its’ parts, however small, are valuable in God’s sight, every brick counts – and every bit of mortar – when God is the builder.
As we read his word may we all have an active conscience to enable what we read to come alive in our minds and provoke us into being fully conscious of all that God is – and all that we can become!
Note how Hebrews ch. 4 concludes! Let us “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”.