Pull your chair a little closer to the table and join us for a study in The Epistle to the Hebrews, a letter to a congregation of struggling Jewish Christians written by an unknown author sometime before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. My class and I will be landing on a few verses in each chapter with the goal of getting an overview of this fascinating and complex book. These mid-week reflections and observations are intended to initiate a deeper pondering of the week’s assignment in preparation for our discussion the following Sunday. This week we are looking at Hebrews 1:1-4 in which we see the presence of God spoken into our lives with immediacy and purpose through His Words to us:
1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
These are stunning words, especially when coupled with the biblical evidence that God continues to speak to His people in myriad ways. When reading Hebrews, my tendency has been to fly right by this amazing and foundational concept on my way to untangling the mystery of Melchizedek or decoding the meaning of the Levitical priesthood.
But not today.
The truth is that most of us – if we were honest – would admit that we have more issues than National Geographic over this concept of God communicating with us. We flinch at the idea that we have absolutely no control over what He says. We complain over the waiting, the timing, and the content of His guidance. A couple of decades ago, I quit reading the Bible for a while in misguided protest against what I perceived to be a silent heaven. What I learned from that little temper tantrum is that God is not silent or withdrawn, BUT neither does He speak in sky writing — nor through the whispered, individual messages that I longed for.
The 39 Old Testament books written “to the fathers by the prophets” are expanded and clarified by the 27 New Testament books written by the apostles, eyewitnesses to the Word made flesh. They testify to the fact that God has communicated lavishly, “at various times and in various ways.” What if all we had of God’s Word was the book of Ezekiel with its visions of whirlwinds and spinning wheels with eyes? On the contrary, He has given the poetry of the psalms and the rich historical narrative of Israel’s history, the ancient wisdom of Job and the record of God’s plan to rescue humanity, all interspersed with messages of grace and judgment, wisdom and hope.
The purpose of the book of Hebrews (and of our study) is driven by this amazing truth: the sovereign God has spoken. He is unrestricted in His ability to communicate with His people. All of our “impressions” from the words of others, the still small voice of the Spirit, and the “heavens declaring the glory of God” are subject to the filter of God’s revealed Truth. We will never exhaust its infinite riches.
God has spoken.
What will we do about it?
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