The God Who Speaks
Reading: Hebrews 9-13
The book of Hebrews is so rich. As I’ve read through it this week so many things jumped off the page. Since I have a series of studies on The Ten Commandments cooking away on the back burner of my mind, there was one verse in particular that struck me this morning as I read these wonderful chapters.
In Hebrews 12:18-29, the writer is describing in general terms the experience that Israel went through at the foot of Mount Sinai when God handed down The Ten Commandments to Moses. The Israelites had just come from a country of many gods. The Egyptians had a god for just about everything. But not a single one of those gods ever spoke to anyone about anything. At the foot of Sinai, God’s chosen instrument, Israel, watched as God descended on the mountaintop. Clouds, thunder, lightening, a display of power that had them shivering in their sandals, met them as they waited.
The silence of the false gods of Egypt sharply contrasted with the awe-inspiring voice of Jehovah when He spoke.
The writer to the Hebrews warns his readers: “See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks” (Hebrews 12:25, NIV).
Those familiar with the history of Israel are aware that God’s people didn’t always respond to God’s instructions when He spoke. The consequences of that refusal to listen and obey were disastrous. So the writer reminds his audience that they would do well to listen to God’s voice, and not only to listen, but to comply. He ends this brief section saying: “…worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28, 29, NIV).
Paul described this “worship” in terms of listening and obeying this God who speaks by saying: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1, NIV). He then goes on to describe what this sacrifice looks like in practical daily living.
God has spoken through His Son (Hebrews 1:1, 2) and He has left us His written Word. The end of a year always seems to signal a period of reflection in us, and as we think about this God Who speaks it seems appropriate that we consider renewing our vows to listen to, and to obey His voice during this coming year.