Wednesday, April 06, 2005

It's All About Him: Hebrews -- Lesson 14

To start at the beginning of the series, click here.

Today's Choices

Let's take a structural look at this section of Hebrews:

Unbelief: Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.
Sin: But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Messiah: For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,
while it is said, "Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me."
Moses: For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses?

Sin: And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient?

Unbelief: So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:12-19, NASB 95)

The above structure is called a "chiasm" in that it presents a sequence of thems in one order and then repeats the same themes, with important variations, in reverse. The Writer presents a series of positive exhortations: "encourage on another" and "hold fast." Then he quotes the theme verse of this section and then shows how the ancients had fallen because they had not "encouraged" and had not "held fast."

What is clear from the first and last lines is that "belief" or faith is a fundamental principle. It is the beginning of relationship. This, in turn, is the beginning of obedience. Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey my commandments." Jesus here was not laying down the test of love. He was saying "love and you will obey."

The ancients heard God's voice and delighted in it until the tests of faith came. The tests said, "Do you trust me?" And the ancients said, "No." The test did not find faith, and so the test hardened the hearts.

"My bretrhen," the Writer says, "Let's not do this again."

Test everything. Cling to what is good.

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