Hebrews 12:14-29 — The Mountain of Fear and the Mountain of Joy
Thoughts about serving others
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One Reply to “Dec 6 — Hebrews 12b”
“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy” (Hebrews 12:14a). To live in peace and to be holy. Sounds very 60s-ish, so we obviously need to be careful not to cherry-pick this verse and mount it on the wall too quickly. Don’t miss the second half of the verse: “without holiness no one will see the Lord” (12:14b).
Verses 15, 16 and 25 give us specific instructions to “See” verses. We should pay attention to these directions. We have a responsibility to support each other in our community of faith we call church:
– “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God” (12:15)
– “See that no one is sexually immoral” (12:16)
– “See to it that you do not refuse hime who speaks” (12:25)
We need to do these things because God is not a God to take lightly, he is “not a mountain to be touched” (12:18) or something to be achieved. “You have come to God, the Judge of all” (12:23). This is the case for great joy and worship: “let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire'” (12:28-29).
The first thoughts that came to mind when reading 12:14 was to reflect back on my youth when the poem Desiderata was popular. I used to read that poem thinking it was a bridge between Christians and non-believers, a way that we could find some common ground; after all, we could agree that it is good to live in peace with one another. It was easy to look beyond the actual words of the poem, but therein lies the trap, the hook to secular humanism or pantheism. Many went that direction as the New Age was born and the Unitarian church grew. The writer of Hebrews reminds us in 12:18-24 that this is not a game. Yes, we want to live in peace, but we must not misunderstand the stakes are eternally high.
Lord forgive me for times when I have dabbled in things that should not have been touched, for thinking I had the strength to stand on ground that was not meant to approach. Grant me a discerning mind that sees clearly and most importantly, help me to help others find their way in this world fully of trickery and deception, especially during this season, even this Christmas.