Hebrews 12: 1-29, Running the Race.
VV 1-2, 1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We are running in a relay race. The biblical heroes of faith passed the baton to us, watched us run, and cheer us on. Do not be hindered by sin, run with patience, focused on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who endured the cross with joy.
VV 3-6, 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. 5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”
Ponder over Jesus who endured the opposition of sinners, agonized in the garden of Gethsemane, sweating drops of blood, and wrestling with God’s will. The author quoted Proverbs 3:11, “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor detest His correction”.
VV 7-10, 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.
A human father disciplines us because they do not want us to embarrass him. God disciplines us because He wants to bring out the best in us to complete the race. He wants us to excel and succeed.
VV 11-13, 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
If God disciplines us, raise our hands, strengthen our knees, start walking, do not be depressed, and change out attitude.
VV 14-15, 14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;
Be holy and be at peace with all people. Do not moan and groan, and do not harbor bitterness.
Vv 16-17, 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
Esau sold his birthright for a morsel of food. When Esau was young, he did not care about his birthright, but when he was old he wanted his father’s blessing but could not get it. Isaac blessed Jacob even though Jacob deceived him. Esau became bitter and plunged into sin and immorality.
VV 18-21, 18 For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. 20 (For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.” 21 And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”)
The author quoted Exodus 19:12-13, ”Be careful that you do not approach the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain is to be put to death. They are to be stoned or shot with arrows; not a hand is to be laid on them. No person or animal shall be permitted to live. Only when the ram’s horn sounds a long blast may they approach the mountain.”
Mount Sinai represents the law. Mount Sinai killed and burned those who come near or touch it. If we can keep the law, we will be saved but the law is impossible to be kept. Law is only a mirror to reveal sin and not a remedy for sin.
VV 22-24, 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
Mount Zion represents grace, the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, the church of the living God. Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant provided salvation for us through His blood.
V 25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,
If we turn away from the grace of Christ, we will not escape the judgment of God.
VV 26-27, 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth but also heaven.” 27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
The author quoted Haggai 2:6, “For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land”.
When God spoke from Mount Sinai, the earth shook. God will shake from heaven to remove all the crutches in our life. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken to keep us focused on God.
VV 28-29, 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.
Our relationship with the Lord cannot be shaken. God is immutable, unmovable, unchangeable, faithful, and trustworthy. We must focus on Jesus, serve, and fear Him with godly fear. We must not put our trust in anything or anyone except in Him.