"For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living." Psalm 116:8&9

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hebrews 12

I have been reading through the book of Hebrews for about a month now. I love this book. I love how much it connects back to the Old Testament. I love how rich and deep each sentence is. I love how it so blatantly shows me that Jesus is best - better than angels, better than Moses, better than everything. He is best. It brings such comfort to my soul.

Early this week, I started working through chapter 12 and verse 12 caught my attention. "Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed."

Words like "drooping", "weak" and "lame" are words I connected with. They describe my soul right now. And the word "healed" caused my heart to ache. I so desperately want healing. So I spent some time contemplating verse 12. But while my attention was captured by this verse, my heart and mind just could not wrap around its meaning. It was one of those moments where I understood all the words, but my spirit was wrestling to understand its deeper meaning.

To be honest, this led me to a sad place. In the past, when I wrestled with Scripture, I would go to Barry. We would read it together and talk about it. He would help me understand its meaning. I miss those times. I miss his wisdom. I miss him. Once again I found myself having to figure out another thing on my own.

I went into the study and started pulling commentaries off the shelves. While I did not have my beloved to help me, I did have the words of John Calvin and John Owen, two brilliant theologians, to help.

My study led me to this:
To understand verse 12, you have to go back to verses 3 and 4. "Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood."

What helps me lift my drooping hands, strengthen my weak knees and not grow fainthearted is simple - I must consider Jesus. I must think on him and not myself. While I may have suffered, I have not suffered to the point of shedding blood. What keeps me going, what pushes me forward is thinking on him.

And I must "make straight paths" for my feet. I must do what is right, what is righteous. I must pursue holiness. In pursuing holiness, I protect myself from becoming lame - from becoming unable to walk in the land of the living because of sin. I must choose straight paths of righteousness, not the crooked path of sin.

In considering Jesus and pursuing righteousness I will be healed. Unfortunately, this is not a short process. It will not happen over-night. It will be a life long battle, but I know that in the end, there will be healing. As long as I know healing is coming, I can keep fighting.

"The constant consideration of Christ in his sufferings is the best means to keep up faith unto its due exercise in all times of trial." John Owen


S. Shelton said...

Your insights are an encouragement to us all. Barry would be honored.

Sonya said...

Charity, I specifically remember Barry's sermon on this very interesting verse a few years ago!! It ministered to me in a special way, too. All of his sermons on Hebrews were outstanding. Thanks for adding to the insight he had already shed on this verse for me long ago. God bless you much.