November 17

Hebrews 12

These chapters flow together with a message of holding onto our faith and giving our all for the purpose of Christ. This effort is compared to running a race in chapter 12, putting down any kind of a distraction or sin that would weigh us down. We are to consider the challenges that Christ endured, and be determined to endure difficulty as well. The writer continues with the hardships that come from discipline, encouraging people to endure the discipline and receive the correction so as to walk in righteousness. Another challenge to overcome is weariness in verse 12, encouraging people to restore such a person. The example given is Esau, who was so depleted that he sold his birthright – exhaustion can take you out of the running. We need to restore each other.

In verse 18 we read about the experience on Mount Sinai in Exodus 19 where the Lord withdrew from Israel for two days. There was shaking (earthquake), darkness, fire, and a trumpet blast. The third day, the Lord returned. Exodus 19 is actually very prophetic for the Jews over these last two thousand years and for the millennium that will come. In verse 22 Mount Zion is referenced, usually in connection with Christ’s reign on the earth. God speaks about a shaking of the earth (earthquakes), as well as His unshakeable, invisible, spiritual kingdom through Christ. Whatever this earth will go through in bringing an end to corruption, our confidence is that we are part of another kingdom that will stand forever! What a wonderful hope!

Ezekiel 16

Jerusalem is sometimes used as a symbol for the southern kingdom, or Judah, and sometimes for all of Israel. Here Jerusalem is portrayed as a blossoming young woman, then as royalty, then as a harlot. In her adultery, Jerusalem takes her eyes off of her covenant relationship with God and goes after other lovers to find fulfillment. In other words, the Hebrew people turned away from God to pursue other people and their gods in search for their significance and worth. We see that this sin has gone on for generations in the phrase, “Like mother, like daughter (16:44).” In verse 59, God says, “I will deal with you as you have done, who DESPISED the oath by BREAKING the COVENANT.”

Verse 60 begins with NEVERTHELESS… God says He will remember HIS covenant that He made early on with Israel, and everlasting covenant. Often in covenants, two parties make an oath to one another; however, with God, He made this covenant with Himself, and then invited the Jewish nation to enter into it (Hebrews 6:13). God promises to establish, or confirm, His covenant, then says, “you shall know that I am the Lord.” Again this phrase appears, repeatedly showing us how God wants to be known. Then in verse 63 God is sharing His plan for atonement, a plan He made when none of us deserved it. Praise God for His mercy and grace!

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