October 21

Hebrews 10-11

We are in the Church Stream reading from The Living Bible.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

To God the Almighty we exclaim, “what a mighty God we serve!”  Amen.

10 – The Hebrews needed to stop clinging to the archaic system that God had Moses put in place  And that is why ch. 10 was written..  The rigors of the Law was a 1400 year long practice run for the perfect sacrifice; Jesus at Calvary.  The regular sacrifices had kept their minds on their sin instead of on forgiveness.  Christ’s sacrifice, which was done willingly, was what was planned all along.  Rev. 13:8 states that the “Lamb of God”; Jesus was slain from the foundation of the world.  So the sacrifices were simply teaching a reverence for the blood of the sacrifices.  When Christ’s sacrifice occurred, then the final deed had been done.  It also taught the relentless need for forgiveness and redemption.  And as time went on, there had to be a beleaguering dimension to the whole system – priests wondering if this was ever going to end, ever going to be enough.  And by default there would be the lingering thoughts as to if all this slaughter and blood pouring was accomplishing anything at all anyway.  (The Bible here says that the blood of bulls and goats can never take away sins!)         So the Covenant has switched from being a priestly activity to the Holy Spirit moving and working in the hearts, minds, and souls of those who would commit to Christ; the risen sacrifice of the New Covenant.   Hence that same Sacrificed One is now our Great High Priest.  And because of this great salvation we have in God offering Himself for us, let’s keep meeting together, serving one another, and let’s have a holy reverence and gratitude for this sacrifice given for us.  It is an impetus for service, not a license to lapse into sin.  Deliberate lapsing eventually expels those thought to be saved from God’s presence.  Scary stuff!    Because of our great salvation, let’s stop all vengeance, endure, be joyful, and eagerly look for Christ’s Return.  This is faith and faith is what we are called to.

11 – Look at all these wonderful souls who followed God wholeheartedly in faith.  From the beginning of the Scriptures to John finishing the Book of Revelation, all those who pleased God did so in faith.  Going through this whole list is inspiration of the highest sort in scripture.  Look at what they did for God and with God in faith!  Faith is how we please God.  In faith we press on when common sensibilities or discouragement would stop the next man in his tracks.  Faith formed the world, brought about our relationship with God, called us to Him, gave the Chosen a nation, a Covenant, brought victory after victory in routing enemies, expelled the wicked, rescued countless saints from peril, gave courage to press on.  And to those who seemingly did not make it or have good fortune, it is because the world was not worthy of them. God was there to swoop them up to another world.  God has done such marvels for He always wins.  And yet there is still more that God has for us.  We’ll continue with that next week.

 The Thread Through the Streams

The theme through the week distills down to a question: “what is it that you want?” There may be a hundred things factoring in here, but God wants to know, what do you want? What is it that you desire?

Numbers 31-33  At Moses command they attacked the Midianites who had led them into sin and caused the plague and all the trouble. But they left all the Midianite women alive; the ones who were more or less a squadron of prostitutes [31:16] Why do you leave the women alive that 24,000 of you had a romp with? Moses doesn’t even wait for an answer. He just orders them to be disposed of.  Moses wants all distractions gone. The men who lingered wanted…just in case … maybe.  We better not talk about what they wanted, huh.  Then two of the tribes wanted to stay east of the Jordan where the grasses were plentiful. Moses wants to make sure they don’t simply want to dodge the battles. Lastly, they go over all the places they wandered to. In essence the situation asks, “did you want to walk all around and accomplish so little?” OK, don’t do that again. Do what you’re told from here on. That’s what God wants. What do you want?

II Chron. 10-16 – Rehoboam wants things to keep the way they are. The northern tribes want taxes lowered. Neither wanted to bend and God’s glorious nation splits apart. Both wanted their own way more than God’s.  No one wanted to ask God what to do from here! Abijah didn’t want to walk with God and he didn’t. He wanted God to help him win his battles – so He did, and he did. Asa wanted to clean up the country completely so he did. But at his end (last two years of life) he didn’t want to go to God anymore. So he didn’t … and he suffered!
Proverbs 9-12 God has it that wisdom invites us to be wise, gracious, righteous, diligent, productive, wealthy, discreet, thoughtful, blessed,  Do we want that?  All the opposite attributes call to us as well – as do people who lurk in the shadows that want us to join them on the road to outer darkness.  So what do we want?  What we want to be will determine where we will be.
Ezekiel 18-20 retorts to all those who are blaming their fathers for their sin and their condition, “is that what you want to do? spend your lives looking in the rearview mirror cursing the departed? really?” If you want to be righteous, you will, and you will benefit from it. If you don’t, you won’t, and you will suffer for it <–is that what you want?  Grow up!  God runs through their history going back a millennium to Egypt and pointed out how incessantly they did not do what God wanted them to do. They did not do what they knew to do – nor did they want to. And now here are the elders, on the brink of disaster asking God, “now, what is it God wants us to do?”  [get real]
Zephaniah [2:4 ff] cross examines the countries around Judah who are taunting and cheering as Babylon is bearing down to finish off the Hebrew nation. Can we say that God is in a way telling them, “uh, you don’t want to do that!”  For they were going to get devoured by these same Babylonians.  God is really saying, as he has unleashed the Babylonians to “clean out” Jerusalem, “hey, this isn’t what I want. I never have. But since you do not want to follow me, I have to clean out my city. I canNOT work with people who do not want Me.”  It’s rough. Let’s face it. Those who do not want what is right end up in places they do not want to be.
John, in 5&6, tells of a man who for 38 years did not want to get well. Once strong to walk and work again, he would have to do both. Jesus’ question is a zinger for all of us, “do you want to get well?”  It also asks, if we want to serve, be strong, be productive, be involved, care, reach out.  Once we are well and strong to work we don’t get to sit by a bubbly pool and pout for decades anymore.  What do we want?  We will get it. With the 5,000 hungry men, do you (Philip) want to calculate and fret or do you want to feed them?  When walking on water and they are in a storm, they are terrified when they see Jesus. Were they not already terrified of drowning? Until they learn it’s Jesus, they wanted this “thing”, this “ghost” gone. When they know it’s Him, THEN they want Him in the boat. [first word of Jo.6:21!]. After they want Jesus with them, the storm stops, Jesus is there and they arrive at their destination.  Wanting Jesus changes everything!
Hebrews 10-11  Come to Jesus is the word for the Hebrews. Do you really want to spend another 1400 years slaughtering, chopping up, and roasting piles and piles of animals? Come come now.  Jesus’ sacrifice suffices. Forgiveness is what you are looking for.  That is what you want.  And dynamic faith like Elijah is what the Hebrews admire.  Jesus grants all this.  Do we want Him? How much?

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