As we read Hebrews we find it is increasingly appropriate for today. It contrasts with the misery Job expresses in his opening words when his three ‘friends’ arrive – thankfully we see his mind steadily comes to focus on more positive thoughts in later chapters. And then there is Jonah, frustrated at the mercy of God toward Nineveh, but of course, history shows that Nineveh and Assyria were destroyed – their repentance was not maintained. And so today, the spirituality and repentance of earlier generations, especially when the Bible was first available for all to read – has now vanished like the morning mist. That brings us back to our Hebrews chapter.
Paul, after expressing that “we have confidence … by the new and living way that he opened for us” (10:19,20) encourages us to “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience” (verse 22). We are exhorted to “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering” (verse 23) and to “stir up one another to love and good works … encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (verse 25).
“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God”, Paul tells them. We recall Jonah’s experience and we know what is going in the future will be “a fearful thing”! The people of our world do not have a relationship with God as Jonah did, none at all in fact. Most do not even think He exists! “Therefore”, Paul tells those who have faith, “do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised” (verses 35,36).
Sadly some appear to have “throw(n) away (their) confidence”. From a human perspective there is delay, but surely that is to make sure the final ingathering is complete. Let us make sure we have the oil of faith in our lamps – ready for when we hear the midnight cry, “Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6).