When we’ve been betrayed by someone we love and trust…it takes a long time to let down our guard and trust again. We want to trust, but we draw back in apprehension that we’ll just get hurt again. It’s kind of like two porcupines dancing…desiring the companionship but afraid of the quills! But when we put our faith in Jesus…when we draw near to Him, He draws near to us. And in that coming near God, by prayer and cherished fellowship with Him, we are assured that God will never leave us or forsake us…for we learn He loves us with a never-ending love.
From the beginning of time, man has attempted to remove the shame and guilt of sin. The Priests would offer the same sacrifices day after day, over and over again…but the humiliation would remain. No matter how many times an animal sacrifice was laid at the altar…it was never good enough. That’s because it’s only the blood of Jesus Christ that can take away, once for all, your sins and the guilt and shame that harass you. When Jesus died on the Cross for you, He took upon Himself your sins, and made a way to our Heavenly Father…that you might experience peace. If there’s no happiness or peace in your inner self today…maybe you should consider asking Jesus into your life.
We’ve spent several days constructing a retaining wall in the back yard…and I don’t mind saying that strenuous manual labor in the oppressive heat of a Illinois Summer is hard! But now that it’s done, it was well worth all the sweat. Genesis 1:1 tells us that, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Where we had cement pavers to build with, God called the universe into being…creating everything we see, smell, and hear out of nothing. For He is the author and architect of it all…bringing into existence that which was not.
Discipline is earnest correction which leads to education. As parents, we always wish our kids wouldn’t have to learn things the hard way. So training and instruction is for their benefit, not us just trying to be mean. The same goes for our Heavenly Father. We learn much from adversity…we discover just how strong we are, and are able to realize the true depth of God’s love and mercy for us . Proverbs 13:24 says, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” Remember that our loving and ever watchful Heavenly Father is wanting only the best for us when hardships head our way.
Hebrews 12:1 states, “…and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Don’t give up,but finish the race, for much can be learned during it. We learn how faithful our God is and we learn just how strong we are. So don’t surrender what you’ve started… rather, set your face towards the finish line and pursue with determination…for God’s goal for you is closer than you think.
The scripture today is a continuation of the thought from yesterday…a encouraging thought for all of us… that we are stronger than we think, braver than we can ever imagine, and only need to trust the Lord in order to succeed. We are exhorted here that we are not of those who shrink back, but rather have faith. For what hangs in the balance is simple…eternal life, or eternal damnation.
The writer of Hebrews is paraphrasing Habakkuk 2:3-4 in this passage. He’s stressing that our spiritual walk is made up of constant, focused, decisions to trust and obey the Lord…even when we can’t see change. He warns us against retreating or drawing back from trials simply out of fear. If you’re in the middle of a storm today, don’t allow fear to rule your life…don’t hesitate when apprehension rises in your throat…rather make a conscious decision to listen to that still small voice of the Holy Spirit and walk by faith.