Monday, January 23, 2017
Change of plans. Instead, of going to I John, we're coming to a stop at Hebrews. This is mainly because my husband steered me in that direction by sharing the beauty of Andrew Murray's Commentary, "The Holiest of All" on Hebrews, which I'll use along with my favorite, Adam Clarke's, of course. So we will stop, get out, and take a few pictures now and then.
"God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers,
in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,
in these last days has spoken to us in His Son..."
One reason I like The Letter to the Hebrews is that it's fat. The Book of the Psalm is probably the fattest book in the Bible, so why not stick with another book in the Bible with girth? Which would you rather get, a skinny post card or a nice long letter? Besides, Hebrews' is easier to find towards the back of the New Testament since it isn't skimpy on its pages.
Some say Hebrews was written by Paul. But since he forgot to sign his name, it has been argued about for centuries. Though he was called to preach to the Gentiles, he also called himself, "a Hebrew of Hebrews." Most believe that it was written for the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem and Judea. Those converted Jews were in a state of poverty, affliction, and persecution and were backsliding, going back to the Mosaic laws and rites. Perhaps it was written by Paul in Hebrew and then translated to a more eloquent Greek by Luke, or Barnabas, or even Aquila (a woman!) or any of a long list of others who it could have been.
It is thought that it was written about 63 A.D. by Paul while imprisoned in Rome. Though he may have been freed for awhile, traveling in Italy and perhaps even as far as Spain, he eventually was martyred, as was Peter, in Rome by Nero. Yep, he was that crazy emperor who fiddled while Rome burned. One thing is certain however, it is written for us. So, here we go...
"God...has spoken to us."
Umm, what happened once before when God spoke? Things got created in an instant. God spoke...and it was. Not only that, it was good. Now those well-taught Jewish children, they also knew that God had spoken in the past, to the fathers in the prophets, in the Old Testament. Imagine what happens when God speaks in His son, "the most glorious Being"! (Adam Clarke)
"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake...
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son." (KJV)
Adam Clarke says the "diverse manners...supposes these words to refer to that part of music
which is denominated harmony, that general consent or union of musical sounds which is made up of different parts; and...it may signify the agreement or harmony of all the Old Testament writers, who with one consent gave testimony to Jesus Christ, and the work of redemption by him."
So if you mash up these words, God spoke in harmony of the Old and New. If God spoke and it came to be, what happens when God sings? Does He do it in three-part harmony: Father, Son, Holy Ghost?
But what was it that God had to say to His people who had time and again fallen away from Him. Isn't that what we see in the whole of the Old Testament? Now in the New, Andrew Murray says, "Some had grown 'slothful,' were 'not giving earnest heed,' were 'neglecting the great salvation. They were no longer 'holding fast their profession' or 'their confidence'...Others had 'gone back,' were in danger of 'coming short of the promises,' and, yielding to 'willful sin,' 'drawing back to perdition.'"
Andrew Murray goes on to say that the purpose of the writer of Hebrews, "was to meet this spirit of backsliding, to warn against the disease and its danger, and to make known the infallible cure. He saw that the one cause of all the feebleness and faithlessness was this: the want of the knowledge and the faith of what Christ and His salvation truly are."
Now we don't need a map.
We have a voice, Siri who talks to us!
We have another Voice we need to listen to
so that we will not stray, so that we will not become lost.
In his introduction to his commentary of Hebrews, which he wrote first in Dutch, then in English, Andrew Murray said, "The great complaint of all who have the care of souls is the lack of whole-heartedness, of steadfastness, of perseverance and progress in the Christian life. Many...come to a standstill, and do not advance beyond the rudiments of Christian life and practice. And many more...turn back to a life of worldliness...Those who, through sloth, remain babes in Christ, and do not press on to maturity, are ever in danger of hardening their heart, of coming short and falling away. Only those...who press on unto perfection, do in very deed inherit and enjoy the wonderful new covenant blessings secured to us in Christ." Andrew Murray simple illustrates the Christian experience as two covenants: one of the Old Testament, one of wandering; and then the New Testament, sanctification.
This is what God whispers in our hearts, to press on, to grow in our love. Today we sang the most beautiful song in church...
"Kissed by Jesus"
"I've been kissed by Love's lips,
Rescued by Love's hands,
Forged in fire, not cheaply made;
This love cannot be slain.
I've been kissed by Love,
I've been kissed by the Son,
I've been kissed by Love,
I've been kissed by Jesus.
Your tender words, they melt my heart;
This melting heart will dance.
Your caring touch heals me again;
You're closer than a friend.
I'm so in love with You, Jesus.
Adam Clarke said, "One great object of the apostle is, to put the simplicity of the Christian system in opposition to the complex nature of the Mosaic economy." What's more simple than falling in Love with Jesus and growing in that love? Gone are the "woulda--coulda--shoulda's," of falling short, because if you truly love God, you won't fall short, but fall into a more deeper love. He's more than just a friend, one who you visit on Sundays. He wants to be on more intimate terms, to be one in heart and soul. This is the singing in your soul, when God brings harmony into your life.
Speaking of falling in love, do you want to hear a little love story in a nutshell? There is a godly man named Daniel who has prayed every day for God to give him wisdom. He has fallen in love with a young woman named Sophia. My husband had a grin on his face when he told Daniel this week that Sophia means wisdom. Get it? Daniel has prayed every day for God to give him wisdom, to give him Sophia. (wink, wink)
at 8:26 AM