Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Morning Devotions

Heb. 4:12- "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (NKJV)

In this verse, the writer of Hebrews demonstrates the power of God’s word. He demonstrates its power to convict of sin and to transform lives. But in reading the verses preceding Heb. 4:12, we can discover the goal of this conviction and transformation. Verse one tells us of God’s promised rest for His people. We are warned to fear, lest any of us “come short of it,” to fail to enter that rest. To illustrate such a healthy fear, the writer brings to our remembrance the Israelites who failed to enter the Promised Land. Almost all those Israelites whom Moses led out of slavery in Egypt failed to trust God. God had parted the Red Sea so they could escape Pharaoh’s army. God gave Israel victory over the Amalekites. Verse two tells us the Gospel was preached to them as well as us. They heard, but they did not mix what they heard with faith. And so they refused to enter the Promised Land. So God declared that those who failed to trust and obey would not enter the land He was giving them. The writer quotes Ps. 95:11 where God, speaking of the Israelites, said, “So I swore in my wrath, ‘they shall not enter my rest’.” The writer of Hebrews ties this rest to God’s rest after the sixth day of creation. It is this rest we Christians can look forward to, the rest we are warned against failing to enter. It is the rest in which we cease from all our works (Heb. 4:10). We are exhorted to be diligent lest we fail to enter that rest (v. 11). And then we come to verse twelve, “For the word of the Lord…”  The word of the Lord convicts and transforms so that His faithful ones enter that rest. Entrance into this rest is the ultimate purpose for this conviction and transformation produced by reading God’s word. And as God’s word guides us into this rest, Jesus, our High Priest, gives us the grace we need so that we may obey what we read. Note the importance of faith in listening to God’s commands. The Israelites heard God’s word. But they did not mix faith with what they heard (v. 2). If we fail to read God’s word with faith, the conviction and transformation which enables us to enter God’s rest will never take place. Many Christians realize the role of faith in salvation, but fail to exercise faith in the living of the Christian life. Don’t be one of them. Let faith be applied to what you know, and you will not fail to enter the rest promised to each child of God! 

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