October 18 — Hebrews 3 — Projecting Ahead. In the first six verses of this chapter, the word “faithful” is used twice about Jesus and two times about Moses. One thing that stood out to me was that a portion of Moses’ faithfulness was “to testify to the things that were to be spoken later” (v. 6). In a sense, Moses didn’t know what he was talking about—at least he didn’t understand the future significance of some of the things he said. For instance, when he relayed God’s instructions about how to perform the Passover as a way to remember Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian slavery, he had no idea that it also looked forward to the final Passover Lamb of God that would be slain to deliver us from sin’s bondage. God would make that clear through the faithfulness of the New Testament writers. In different words, our own faithfulness is also referred to in verse 6, when “we hold fast our confidence.” We have no idea what benefits our present faithfulness will provide for us or others in the future.
October 19 — Hebrews 4 — The Word of God. As I came to the well-known verse 12 today, which says that “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword …,” it seemed to come rather abruptly and out of context. However, looking backward, I saw that there had been much said about God’s Word: “good news … message” (v. 2), “as he said” (3), “he has somewhere spoken” (v. 4), “he said” (v. 5), “saying through David … his voice” (v. 7), and “God would not have spoken” (v. 8). The purpose of the Word of God is to be “discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (v. 12) so that “no creature is hidden … but all are naked and exposed … to whom we must give account” (v. 13). God’s Word is both revealing and powerful to change. Exposing ourselves to it every day is accomplishing that purpose.
October 20 — Hebrews 5 — Got Milk? There is a bit of rebuke here for Christians who have been coasting along without growth: “… you have become dull of hearing” (v. 11), needing to be taught when they should be able to teach (v. 12). In that sense, they are like new believers who have all their spiritual growth before them. Both types of believers need to be given the basics of Christian living, like a baby needs its mother’s milk. First of all, they need to take milk. Many parents have struggled with children who have a hard time being willing to eat what is good for them. Reading God’s Word every day is part of that development for you. Milk is not bad—we need it. But we must apply ourselves to it “by constant practice” (v. 14). The result is that our ability “to distinguish good from evil” (v. 14) will increase. That is one way we grow up into maturity.
October 21 — Hebrews 6 — Growth. The “milk” or “basic principles” talked about in the previous chapter (5:12) is somewhat defined at the beginning of this chapter as “the elementary doctrine of Christ” (6:1). This includes things like “repentance … faith … washings [baptisms] … laying on of hands [healing, gifts, or commissioning for ministry] … resurrection … and … judgment” (v. 2). These are foundational and important but there are more. We are also to add “earnestness” and “assurance” with endurance (“until the end”—v. 11). Earnestness involves sincerity, seriousness, and concentration of mind and will. “Assurance” is a result that comes from thinking and doing right and also from the Holy Spirit’s activity (1 Thess. 1:5 translates it “full conviction”). We gain these two qualities of maturity by being “imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (v. 12). We need to think and act like others who are more mature than we are, those who have been diligent in growing as Christians.
October 22 — Hebrews 7 — Permanent, Perfect Priest. A Levitical priest was somewhat of a go-between for people who wanted to “draw near to God” (v. 25). The priest was not perfect, however, and had to offer a sacrifice for himself before being qualified to offer sacrifices for others (v. 27). Something better was needed. The mysterious Melchizedek was a type of the perfect high priest that was to come, namely Jesus. Although Melchizedek lived before the Mosaic law was given, he wasn’t identified as a type of Christ until God declared it centuries later through King David in Psalm 110:4: “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” That coming high priest was the Christ whom David called “my Lord” and to whom God said, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool” (Ps. 110:1). The writer of Hebrews declared that this “word of the oath” through David, “appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever” (v. 28). Jesus is our perfect go-between to the Father, always available to help us connect to God.