The Way - Day 151 (Hebrews 4)

Daily Reading:
Hebrews 4
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
In what areas of your walk with Christ are you most tempted to give in to what you selfishly desire on your own? How might remembering that Christ is our great High Priest help you persevere?
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 63:1
OPTION 2: Proverbs 19:21
OPTION 3: Matthew 6:16-18
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for Hebrews 4 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
Hebrews 4:1-10
After warning his readers of the consequences of unbelief, the writer begins to unfold God's promise of rest to those who have faith. What is the promise? According to verse 1, the promise is "entering His rest," which includes peace with God, salvation, and a future hope of heaven. Being secure in a relationship with God brings rest and deliverance from insecurity. The writer of Hebrews urges his readers to carefully examine their heart and discover their true spiritual condition. There seemed to be those amongst his readership who intellectually accepted the message of Jesus Christ, but failed to believe with their heart (4:2). The writer returns to the Jews who were miraculously delivered from Egypt, but God's message did not impact them because it was not "mixed with faith." James states very clearly that "faith without works is dead." When genuine faith in God's message is believed there will be visual proof and life change...a person cannot stay the same when they trust in the work of Jesus Christ. The author of Hebrews also compares the rest which God gives to those who are His to the seven day creation where He rested on the seventh day (4:4-5) - He worked six days and rested on the seventh. Entering God's rest is still open. His rest was available during the time of Moses and was still available during David's lifetime (4:6-7), but it continues to be open to us. There is a sense of urgency here and the writer desires those who are reading to enter into God's rest and leave their life of rebellion and disobedience. Joshua led the Israelites into the Promised Land, but ultimately the rest which was offered was not just a physical rest but a spiritual one (4:8). One day there will be a spiritual rest for God's people and all their works will cease as they find true rest in God (4:10).

Hebrews 4:11-13
In Hebrews 4:4 the author states that God worked six days on creation and then rested on the seventh. The reason God rested on the seventh day was because He had finished the work which He set out to complete. Since we are to follow after God, we also must work until the task at hand is completed. Our task is still not complete and will not be until we possess eternal life. We are called to do God's will during our lifetime and continue in it. The writer of Hebrews challenges us to "be diligent" so that we do not settle into a life of disobedience (4:11). He reminds his readers that God' word is the tool which exposes that which is good and that which is bad. The word of God is "living and powerful" meaning that it is relevant across all generations - the examples the writer had shared from the Old Testament were applicable to the life of the reader today. God's word is also "sharper than any two-edged sword" implying that it is an instrument of judgment; furthermore, the word of God is a "discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" which means it can expose good and evil within the human heart. God's word is supernatural (since it comes from God) and possesses the ability to expose who we really are. In fact, Hebrews 4:13 declares that "no creature is hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." The standard we must live by is the word of God because it is the avenue by which God has revealed Himself and given us His will. Don't ignore the word of God! The word has the ability to expose sinful areas in our life, but also fill us with the power to overcome temptation. Make God's word a significant part of your life and allow it to discern your heart.

Hebrews 4:14-16
Even though the word of God discovers the true condition of our heart (4:11-13), the writer of Hebrews shares these verses so we do not feel like we have no where to turn. For those who have trusted in Jesus Christ, He has become their High Priest. In the Old Testament the high priest would go through the outer court, Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies once a year in order to make an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the people. Although this sacrifice did not forgive sin, it symbolized death which was required for the forgiveness of sin. The writer says that much like the high priest, Jesus came through the heavens to become our High Priest. Distinct from the animal sacrifice which was made once a year, Jesus Christ was the once for all sacrifice which brought forgiveness of sin. Paul in Romans 5:19 says it like this: "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." Adam's sin brought sin, but through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ many are made righteous. What are the results of having Jesus Christ as our High Priest? The writer mentions a few benefits. First, Jesus understands how we feel when tempted to sin. He can identify with the struggle a person goes through when they are faced with the choice of good and evil. Although Jesus Christ never gave in to temptation, He knows what we experience. Another benefit to having Jesus as High Priest is that we can come into His presence at any time. The Old Testament priest only came before God once a year, but we can personally run into God's presence at any time. The writer tells us to "come boldly to the throne of grace." The last benefit he mentions is we can "obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Because we have been forgiven from sin, God freely provides grace to those who are being tempted or to those who simply need strength for the road ahead. What an amazing thought!

Dear God, help me to experience Your strength as I face the trials and temptations each day!