Hebrews 12 Devotional – Day 4

By September 15, 2022Daily Devotional

ADORATION – Reflect on God’s Greatness

WRATH God loves all that is right and good, for rightness and goodness conforms to his moral character. So it shouldn’t be surprising that God intensely hates sin. Scripture’s narrative frequently describes God’s wrath, especially when God’s people sin against him.

    • “I have seen this people . . . now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them.” (Exodus 32:9–10)
    • “Remember and do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness. . . . Even at Horeb you provoked the Lord to wrath, and the Lord was so angry with you that he was ready to destroy you.” (Deuteronomy 9:7–8)
    • “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.” (John 3:36)
    • “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men.” (Romans 1:18)

Praise God that He intensely hates sin.
Praise God that he instructs us in what is right and wrong. Praise the Holy Spirit for convicting us of sin. Praise God for dealing our sin on the cross. Praise God that he loves all that is right and good.

CONFESSION: Confess your sins to God and receive his continued mercy.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

THANKSGIVING: Giving thanks to God for his specific blessings in our lives.

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100

SUPPLICATION: Bringing our requests to God.

  • Bring your personal prayer requests to God.
  • Pray for Christian Challenge as they meet tonight at River. Ask God to grow the student’s faith and grow their community.

SCRIPTURE READING:
Hebrews 12 – The Message
Discipline in a Long-Distance Race
12 1-3 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

4-11 In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children?

My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline,
but don’t be crushed by it either.
It’s the child he loves that he disciplines;
the child he embraces, he also corrects.

God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off big-time, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.

12-13 So don’t sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it!

14-17 Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears.

An Unshakable Kingdom
18-21 Unlike your ancestors, you didn’t come to Mount Sinai—all that volcanic blaze and earthshaking rumble—to hear God speak. The earsplitting words and soul-shaking message terrified them and they begged him to stop. When they heard the words—“If an animal touches the Mountain, it’s as good as dead”—they were afraid to move. Even Moses was terrified.

22-24 No, that’s not your experience at all. You’ve come to Mount Zion, the city where the living God resides. The invisible Jerusalem is populated by throngs of festive angels and Christian citizens. It is the city where God is Judge, with judgments that make us just. You’ve come to Jesus, who presents us with a new covenant, a fresh charter from God. He is the Mediator of this covenant. The murder of Jesus, unlike Abel’s—a homicide that cried out for vengeance—became a proclamation of grace.

25-27 So don’t turn a deaf ear to these gracious words. If those who ignored earthly warnings didn’t get away with it, what will happen to us if we turn our backs on heavenly warnings? His voice that time shook the earth to its foundations; this time—he’s told us this quite plainly—he’ll also rock the heavens: “One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern.” The phrase “one last shaking” means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered.

28-29 Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire!
Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

SCRIPTURE REFLECTION:

Why do we hate discipline? Think about a time when someone disciplined you through correction; they told you that you were wrong. Think about the discipline required to change or grow, diet, exercise, or other habits. No one really loves being disciplined. We do however love the results of discipline. How might hardship be God’s loving discipline? How might God use it for our good? How does it help us “share in his holiness?” It is very important to consider these things. We tend to motor through life until we hit a hard time. Then we hunker down and “get through it.” When we are “getting through it” we are not prone to think deeply about what God might be doing because we are so focused on survival. When or if we do get through it, we are not prone to want to think deeply about what God might be doing because…well, we are through it and we just want to be done with thinking about it. Do you see the problem here? If we don’t think deeply about what God is doing in our suffering while it is ongoing or after it has passed…when we will ever think deeply at all? So whether you are currently in a time of difficulty, or currently free of it, now is the time to think deeply about it. What is God doing through hardship? How does he want to train you for a harvest of righteousness and peace?

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