Updated 4 Oct 2019
- Psalm 26
- Psalm 25
- Psalm 24
- Psalm 23
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In the previous chapter the importance of faith is being strongly underlined and illustrations of men and women of faith have been presented. Now the writer takes us into new imagery of a race.
Scripture often uses a picture of an athlete in a race and so to have the idea of a great crowd watching a race is not usual. We get the sense that these are not just spectators but these are saints who have run their race and are now in glory and they are watching with great attention those who are still running their race. You sense that they are urging the runner to do their best and to finish well. We are in the fullness of time to join that great crowd of witnesses and most certainly need encouragement to finish our race well.
Running the race
To run well an athlete needs to be well prepared and to be suitably dressed. Our race in life has many distractions and many situations which try to work against us being successful. Sin can trip us up and we need to avoid it. Temptations can be very strong but we need to overcome them. We need to run our own race, we must not try to run a race set out for someone else we must run and discover the race that God has for us. When we are outside God’s will for us our race will be very hard work. Discovering God’s will and walking confidently in what He has shown us will help us to run well.
Looking to Jesus
As we run we must picture Jesus ahead of us and put all our focus upon Him. He is our supreme example, His race was so special, He had been set aside to deal with sin, the devil and death. He, with determination did not look for an alternative race but preserved despite the sacrifice until the end. He sat down at God’s right hand knowing that He had done everything the Father had called Him to do. The shame, the hostility, the anger and hatred that came upon Him did not stop Him. As we run our race, though it may be difficult we will never suffer like He did.
As we run the race that God has prescribed for us we must be open to God’s discipline to keep us on track. God’s loving correction and rebuke are never designed to destroy us but rather to make us the best that we can be. God’s discipline is in fact a privilege because He only disciplines His children. When you are a child of God you will of course want to enjoy all of his blessings but we must also accept His correction. Scripture acknowledges that this is not easy but when we respond well, fruit is produced and God will bring stability into our lives.
Running with others
As we run our race we want to be aware of our brothers and sisters in Christ and also others in the world around us. We desire peace and not conflict and we look for patience instead of intolerance. When others hurt us we must guard our hearts to avoid bitterness growing within us. We must focus on pleasing God and not compromise and must hold dear the faith in Christ that has been placed within us.
The presence of God
The writer in verses 19-29 reflects on the time of Moses being on the mountain experiencing the majesty and glory of God. We are aware that the presence of God can sometimes be a very fearful thing, we rejoice in His love but we are also aware of His greatness and holiness. Around the throne of God are the angels and archangels and the saints who are there because of the shed blood of Jesus. In the midst of all this is a tremendous awareness of Jesus the Lamb of God whose blood was shed for us. God has given us membership of His kingdom, a kingdom that can never be shaken but before Jesus comes again there will be a great shaking among the nations. We are safe when we rest on Christ our foundation because He is our security and hope. The fire of God is so overwhelming but we need not fear as we bow to Jesus as our saviour.
Points to consider
- To what degree is it helpful to be aware heaven whilst living on this earth?
- How alert are we to those sins that can entangle is?
- Consider practical ways that you can keep your focus on Jesus.
- In what way do you consider God is correcting you at this time?
- Are you aware of any bitterness in your life that has been unresolved?
- How do we balance an awareness of God’s wroth and righteousness without losing the sense of His great love and compassion towards us?
God bless you!
Bible Study: Hebrews 12
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