Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
Hebrews 12 compares Sinai, mountain of law and fear, with Zion, mountain of joy and community. It concludes the comparison, saying:
See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks.
If they did not escape when they refused him who warned on earth,
how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns from heaven?
At that time his voice shook the earth,
but now he has promised,
‘Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’
The words ‘once more’ indicate removing what can be shaken –
that is, created things –
so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken,
let us be thankful, and worship God with reverence and awe,
for our ‘God is a consuming fire.’ (vv. 25-29)
I am not sure why I take deep comfort in a passage full of stern warnings, a passage that sees God as a consuming fire. What emotions are these warnings designed to produce? Listen to them:
– See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks
– How much less will we escape if we turn away from him who warns from heaven?
– Once more the heavens and the earth will be shaken
– Our God is a consuming fire
The warnings produce fear when I meditate on them. But the passage does not dwell in fear. It looks to what God has promised, and suggests we dwell on that. Listen:
– We are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken.
– Let us be thankful and worship God with reverence and awe.
As the author points out, there is no escape from God, no escape from his laws, no escape from the consuming fire. Better to face reality than run from it, to lean into the fire and let it purify me, to shake off things that can be shaken, and to receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken.
Our father, through Jesus we have come to believe that you are for us, not against us. We understand that you play the long game to expose and overcome our sin. You teach us to fear evil, to pursue holiness. And you promise that this present evil age will soon end.
You shook Mt. Sinai when you gave the law, and you promise to shake the whole of creation one day. But we do not fear the shaking or the consuming fire, because your goal is not to destroy, but to recreate and restore and replenish.
We have experienced your shaking in our lives. You have shaken loose the sins we cling to, the lies we love, the selfish interests we cultivate, the narrow vision of you that we build. To our surprise, your shaking loosens our fears and gains love. Your shaking causes us to lose our attachment to things and gain an attachment to you. We thought your fire would burn us and cripple us, but it leaves us refined and healed.
I’m Daniel, on the channel “Pray with Me”.
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