Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Week 4: Hebrews 4:14*-16

{Therefore, since we have a high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet is without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" Hebrews 4:14-16}

Our assignment for this week as Hebrews 4:15-16 ..but because I had a bit of a hard time with the context, I added vs 14 for my own study time. I feel like it was necessary to take in the full meaning of the passage ..though I cant say I am totally confident that I understand every level of this wonderful verse. 

Taken by itself, I feel like the words are a wonderful affirmation of God's provision and willingness to draw us near to Him. The concept is simple and a powerful statement of the blessings we have in Christ. 

The context of the entire chapter is throwing me off a bit, though...not that the passage doesnt mean the same thing, but does it have an even great meaning by looking at it in the bigger picture?

I had a hard time seeing this section fit into the previous chapters or verse preceding it. Which, if you arent looking hard you may be tempted to not do. Part of that is because the NIV starts a new section heading with vs 14. It seems based on the division, that it is the intro to the section on holy priesthood ..which it certainly makes way for. 

But, its that little "therefore" in vs 14 that made me look a bit more  ..."Therefore" implies that it is there was an argument previous to this concluding point. It says, "now, having said ALL that.." It says, "here is the take away" 

After looking for the reason for that "therefore" I found myself a little like the minion on Despicable Me ..."whaaat?"  :)

Thankfully, I was with my scholar daddy at the time, and he helped me find it - and I feel like it has helped me appreciate these promises even more. ..

The "therefore" concepts start at the beginning of the book, but especially in chapter 3 - the Hebrew writer is talking about Israel (this book, dont forget is written for the Christian Jews) and their issues with unbelief. He uses the mistakes of their ancestors, who struggled with believing in God's promises and how they faltered constantly. Their lack of belief lead them to missing out on one of God's most precious of promises for them, and now us ..that we would "enter His rest". Their lack of obedience and commitment lead them, instead to a lack of "rest" in God. 

He encourages the Hebrew Christians, then to "..hold on to your courage and hope for which we boast" 3:6 and then "hold firmly til the end the confidence we had at first." 3:14 ..He reminds them that the rest that their forefathers denied themselves is still available through our obedience in Christ.  He warns them against disobedience, and even provides for them the way to know what God expects of them now..."For the word of God is living an active. Sharper than any two edged sword..." 4:12

Then, he brings it all back around by again admonishing them to,  "Therefore, since we have a high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess (because those before you DID NOT)"  4:14 ...because of this faith, you have the confidence and boldness to approach the throne of grace, with mercy. 

The "therefore" , implies that by doing this, they are able to enter into God's rest that their fathers before them forfeited. We can be at rest, when we confidently approach Him. We are at peace, because of the faith we profess and the grace that empowers us. 

Doesnt that make you feel more at rest already? :)

If you would be interested in joining a group of godly women on this journey through the bible this summer, please see the sidebar for a full explanation and all that you need to get started! :)

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