Todays readings.. Joshua 16, Isaiah 22, Hebrews 1&2
“WE MUST PAY MUCH CLOSER ATTENTION”
Today we started reading the intensely thought challenging letter to the Hebrews. The author is anonymous but it is often thought that Paul wrote it but because he had become so unpopular among the Jews, he did not reveal his authorship.
Our first two chapters today contain at least 14 quotations from the Old Testament, mainly from the Psalms which Jewish readers would have been familiar with, these all pointed forward to the work of Jesus. Verse 5 in Hebrews ch. 1 quotes from the 2nd Psalm, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you” – God’s son was to be “begotten”!
Chapter 2 starts, “Therefore” – therefore what? The last 2 verses of ch. 1 tells of the “ministering” work of God’s angels! This is a thought-challenging subject in its’ own right! “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” The Jews were in danger of neglecting it, so many were jealous of the Gentiles who had become believers in Christ.
We ourselves need to “pay much closer attention” to God’s word so that we have “no need to be ashamed” because we are “rightly handling the word of truth.” We read this 4 days ago in Paul’s 2nd letter to Timothy (2 v.15)
Many of the Jews were failing to do this – failing to see the full nature of the work their Saviour would perform. Over the centuries many christians have done the same, arriving at a belief that Jesus is God and equal with his Father.
They read God’s word seeking to find apparent evidence for this belief – and there seems to be a little, such as v.8 of Hebrews 1, where we read, “of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever …” Does this prove the human theory of the Trinity?
No – as we read in the next verse, God says because “you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness …”
After his resurrection, Jesus told Mary Magdalene, ” ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” [John 20 v.17] So Jesus was “anointed … with the oil of gladness.”
And those who truly believe in him having understood the truth about him and having heeded the advice that “we must pay much closer attention” to God’s word, will also, one day, be similarly “anointed” so let us not ” neglect such a great salvation” [2 v.3]
Finally, looking ahead to tomorrow’s ch. 4, may we recognize – from our hearts, that ” the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword … discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all .. (is).. exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” [v.12,13] And that giving “of account” will be when Jesus returns! How soon now?