Today we complete reading Hebrews. Paul’s concluding appeal to them could equally apply to many aspects of our lives today, surrounded as we are with false values and godless behavior. He warns, “God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:4).
When did God say this? It is a surprise to discover that Paul is quoting from the words of God to Joshua, spoken soon after the death of Moses. God was inspiring Joshua by telling him, “Just as I was with Moses so will I be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and very courageous … being careful to do according to all the law …” (Joshua 1:5-7).
The Bible Paul read inspired him, and he used it to inspire others. What an example to us of how to use God’s word and put what we read into practice. Paul’s next quotation is from Psalm 118:6, “So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (quoted in Hebrews 13:6).
Do you live with confidence or fear? Being aware of the grace of our Lord must be a factor in our confidence. This is the loving favour of God toward those who genuinely seek to serve Him, despite their weaknesses. This is the next point Paul makes after telling them to “consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith” – that is, imitate those who led them to know the true way.
Paul now makes a vital point, “it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace” (verse 9). We need to appreciate that grace so that we can be strengthened by it and realise that “The Lord is my helper”. Although not expressed in the same way, this is the process we are starting to see Job going through as he searches his relationship with God and contends with “friends” who do not know God.
We are all at different stages of spiritual development, but when we realise that “the Lord is my helper” we find inspiring messages that give us a vision of the future. There is a wonderful example of this in Micah chapter 4 which started, “It shall come to pass in the latter days …” events which lead “many nations (to) come, and say: ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD … that he may teach us his ways …” (verses 1,2). Let us get to know His ways now – and then in that day we will be there and may be privileged to assist in that teaching. Then, we pray, all people will know and say, “The Lord is my helper”.