Today’s readings.. (Joshua 17), (Isaiah 23), (Hebrews 3), (Hebrews 4), (Hebrews 5)
Continuing our reading of Hebrews, we notice more of its many quotations from the Old Testament. Many of these quotations contain that significant little word “IF” ! The major theme is that the readers should learn from the failures of the past and not make the same mistakes, but will “hear” what is written.
In chapter 3 v.4 we read that “the builder of all things is God.” 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? It is needed allowing for the freewill of human nature and fitting that into the overall planning. Remember the ‘Crisis Conference’ in Jerusalem that we read about earlier this month? It was James who summed up their deliberations by quoting the prophet Amos that “the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes things known from of old.” [Acts 15 v.17,18]
God makes known some of the details of his architectural plan. 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” is quoted 3 times! 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 recently been reading. 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 – he had this far more than nearly every other man or woman. What an inspiration his Psalms often provide for us.
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 are an unlimited source of ‘power’ for our minds as we serve him as part of his building.
However as we read his word it is vital we have an active conscience to enable what we read to operate in our minds to provoke us into being fully conscious of all that God is – and all that we can become – because of the reality of our relationship with him. Note how Hebrews 4 concludes; we can “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”. May we do that every day.