This section of the third lament begins with hope rather than despair. The author wants the people to understand the hope that comes from depending on God. Clearly, living through the destruction of Jerusalem and watching loved ones die or be taken away was a brutal reality. Hard times are so much more devastating when we don’t rely on God.
This passage speaks of submitting to the “yoke of his discipline.” That is, we are to come willingly to God, accepting his discipline as a way of teaching us something. Have you ever thought that everything that happens to us in life has a purpose? The author encourages readers to accept what was happening and learn from it.
Continue reading “Lamentations 3:25-39 – Hope in Despair”
The Preacher asks for prayer and then gives a benediction to close out his letter of teaching. What a great display of what praying for each other looks like! We shouldn’t be afraid to ask for prayer. God didn’t intend for us to have to suffer alone. We should be bombarding heaven with prayers for our brothers and sisters in Christ. I don’t know about you, but when someone asks me to pray for them, I feel honored and privileged. Too often we keep our suffering silent. Why is that? Are we ashamed we don’t have it all figured out?
This benediction or blessing is so full of richness and truth. I can just imagine the Preacher extending his arms as he delivers this key address summing up the themes of his sermon: God is the God of peace; God’s power is great; Jesus is our Shepherd and cares for us; God will give us what we need to accomplish his will; and we are to honor God to bring him glory.
Continue reading “Hebrews 13:18-25 – The Blessing”
Did you notice how this text begins and ends with a reference to our faith leaders? Who comes to mind for you as that person who first shared their faith with you and taught you the truth of Scripture? Maybe it was a favorite Sunday School teacher. Maybe it was a friend in your college dorm. Maybe it was Jesus revealing himself to you! Isn’t Jesus the best teacher of all?
When earthly leaders fail or get distracted, we can always trust Jesus. One of the gems in this text packs a powerful promise. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” We can rely on Jesus as the truth for our lives. All sorts of new age, spiritual type teachings pop up every day. The Preacher warns us to be careful of that.
Continue reading “Hebrews 13:7-17 – Is Accepting Grace Hard For You?”
Keep in mind that our reading today comes from the Preacher’s closing remarks. As such, we encounter those important “last-minute details” we mustn’t overlook. These few verses handle three hot-button items: Marriage, Sex, and Money.
Times haven’t changed that much because we could agree those are highly relevant topics still today. What wisdom can we glean for ourselves?
Continue reading “Hebrews 13:4-6 – Sex & Money”
It seems the sermon has ended. Scholars have noted that this chapter seems almost like it’s written by another author. I see it as the Preacher stepping down from the pulpit and getting more relational in his conclusion, bringing up real life applications. He answers the question, “What does it look to be a Christian under the new covenant?”
First and foremost, we are encouraged to love one another as brothers and sisters. Jesus left us with a similar calling in John 15:12, “This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” Jesus loved us even deeper than as brothers and sisters. He gave his life for us. That’s close.
Continue reading “Hebrews 13:1-3 – Care for Others”