Hebrews 11:32 – 12

Well, here I am again, back to my QT journal after another 3 month absence. I am always surprised and disappointed by these lapses in my reading, but I don’t know why. It’s a pattern i fall into repeatedly, besides, look at the roller coaster that was Israel in the OT. Thankfully, even that harsh God of the OT didn’t’ abandon them, so there’s hope for me too. 🙂
Hebrews 11:32 – If I could travel back and ask the writer of Hebrews (assuming I knew who it was) some questions, one of them would be “Why is Samson listed here?”
Hebrews 12:1 – Maybe the writer answers the question for me here: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us …” Look at the list – Samson was a fool, Rahab a prostitute, David a murderer – yet they were honored by God for their faith. Since they were, what should hold me back from the race God has set before me?
I can certainly relate to the phrase “[the] sin which clings so closely“. It seems my sin sticks to me closer than my own skin, and heavier than a heavy wool coat saturated with water. It bogs me down, dragging me to my knees and even farther, preventing me from moving. By Hebrews tells me, look at the great knuckleheads of the Bible, heroes of faith and heavy with sin, just like you. Throw off that weight, shed the skin of sin, and run as Go meant for you to run. What a mental picture. If David could, and Rahab could maybe I can too.
There’s a Casting Crowns song called Set Me Free about the man possessed by a legion of demons with lyrics that haunt me:

As the God man passes by
He looks straight through my eyes
And darkness cannot hide
Do you want to be free?
Lift your chains
I hold the key
All power on Heaven and Earth belong to me

I can feel, at times, Jesus look straight through my eyes and see my darkness. I wonder, do I believe that he is “the One they say will set the captives free” and I wonder if I am really willing to lift my chains of sin and be free. It seems easier at times to wallow.
Hebrews 12:3-11 – There have been some dark times in my heart the past year or two. I’ve written about some if this. God has been disciplining me, allowing to see the sin (pride, judgemental ism, anger) that has been there for so, so long. This passage has been my encouragement. God is disciplining me because he loves me. Moreover, he believes in me enough to show my this part of my character. Sometimes I wish he didn’t, but ultimately it’s encouraging that he does. I’m looking forward to “the peaceful fruit of righteousness”, though.
Hebrews 12:15 – This verse has been used to challenge those with issues with others in the church, but in this context, is that what he’s talking about? Maybe it’s just my mental state or the flow of this post, but given the urging to drop the weight of sin and lift drooping hands and strengthen weak knees, I wonder if this is not an urging to see that no one is bitter towards God rather than man? If so, that would demand a very different kind of response, wouldn’t it? It’s a call to stand by those being disciplined by God, the weak and the discouraged, and make sure they are cared for, encouraged and pointed back to a God who cares. I don’t know, certainly both kinds of bitterness are unhealthy and destructive.

5 thoughts on “Hebrews 11:32 – 12

  1. Heb 12:15 is a reference to Deuteronomy:

    Deu 29:18 Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the LORD our God to go and worship the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison.

    It’s talking about turning away from God.

  2. As you’ve pointed out to me, we seem to be walking along the same path in our spiritual journey. The sad thing Doug, is that you and I will probably never meet this side of heaven. But when we finally do, I’ve got a big burly man hug to give you.
    Love you brother. Never give up, never surrender.

  3. Wow, that’s pretty neat about the bitter poison from deuteronomy – i had that verse memorized and thought about it often but hadn’t known that part; cool.
    have you guys heard the Casting Crowns Song “Praise you in the Storm” i listen to it on my iPod.

  4. Neil, that song is awesome. I have had the 2 Casting Crowns CDs in my car CD changer almost constantly for 6 months. That’s one of my favorites.

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