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Category Archives: Inspiration

We Perish!

We Perish!

It was a dark and stormy night.

Of course, it didn’t start out that way. The day had been stunning. They had seen and heard wonderful things that made their heads swim. They didn’t understand most of it, but knew it was amazing. So when they jumped in the boat to make the crossing they had made many times before, they expected a relaxing trip to give them opportunity to consider the events of the last hours.

But storms come up fast and without warning at night on Lake Gennesaret. This one was particularly frightening. The waves rolled over the railing, threatening to sink the boat. As these seasoned fishermen shook in their sandals, wondering what to do, they realized that the One who had taught in such an amazing way that day was sleeping in the stern of the boat!

The disciples had learned much of the kingdom of God that day. They heard how the kingdom would grow and increase as it filled the earth. Implied was the amazing truth that God, as the sovereign creator of the world, would irresistibly drawn his people to himself. His kingdom would stand, as the prophets foretold. Though Jesus had concealed much from the crowds through the parables, he made it clear that he was explaining those truths to his disciples in plain language.

It would seem that as they boarded the boat that evening, they would be meditating and considering the implications of such teaching. This God who had, in times past, seemed to focus His revelation on a tiny nation in a concentrated part of the world would now reveal Himself across the globe! He would cause the seed of His word to grow in hearts and transform the dead natures of men. What power would be shown!

But when the storm whipped up, those thoughts were gone. Maybe they didn’t forget, but it sure wasn’t their focus. All they could ponder was their certain death at the hand of the capricious wind.

Somewhere in the back of their minds, they remembered that Jesus was powerful. Maybe one of them recalled the paralytic who walked at His command, or the withered hand that was made whole at a word. But even as they looked around to see how He could help, they saw that He was asleep. How could He sleep at a time like this?

Incredulously, they ran to His berth. I love the accuracy of the ESV, but the incomparable words of the KJV ring in my ears at this point: “Master, carest thou not that we perish?!”  Don’t you realize that we are about to be destroyed in this tempest? Has it not crossed your mind that we are about to DIE?

It’s pretty easy for us to criticize the disciples. We’ve heard the story hundreds of times. We know that they had seen countless miracles already. Yet they still forgot who was in control.

I told a friend recently, “I will never criticize those disciples again!”

My family has been going through the storms. Financially, emotionally, spiritually, we feel the tossing of the boat. And it’s not just my immediate family. Other family members, dear friends – so many people I know are in the midst of circumstances that seem to leave no hope.

Perhaps you know how it feels. I’ll give you my personal experience as it stands right now: I know my Savior is there. But to be perfectly honest, I feel as though I’m crying out, “Don’t you know that I’m dying here?!” Yes, it feels like he’s asleep in the boat. He created it all, he controls it all, and I know intellectually that he has a purpose in it all, but it sure is hard to see right now.

Perhaps one day, we’ll be able to look back and see that the storms were good for us. That they strengthened us. But right now, it sure feels like it’s just going to kill us.

I can’t imagine how hard Paul must have had to swallow before he said, “I believe God, that he will save us all alive.” I wish I had that kind of faith! But for now, I must continue crying out, “Master, save us.” For it is he alone who can deliver. No matter how impossible it seems.

I say it to you, as I say it to myself every day. Through the tears, take heart. He has overcome.

 
 

The Author of Hebrews

ms2648 Hebrews 4:8I have recently begun preaching a series through the book of Hebrews.  This is not an easy undertaking, as I recognize that Hebrews is considered one of the most difficult books in the New Testament.  However, it is the direction toward which I felt God leading me.  The challenge of it will keep me on my toes, as I desire to be faithful to the message that God has given to His people.  It is a difficult book, but is is also an amazing book.  Along with the difficult passages to interpret, it also contains some of the clearest passages in Scripture on God’s preservation of His people, and on the high priestly ministry of Christ.

As I began the study, I reviewed and considered my opinion regarding the human author of Hebrews.  I was prepared to spend 15 or so minutes discussing possible authors, and the reason for my own thoughts on the subject.  However, as I continued studying the issue, I came to a completely different conclusion.

As you read each of the epistles, they begin with a greeting from the human author (recognizing, of course, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit resting squarely underneath each).  For example:

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, -Romans 1:1

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. -James 1:1

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ: -II Peter 1:1

The elder unto the well-beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. -III John 1:1

Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called. -Jude 1:1

Get the picture? It’s the same for each of these epistles (and most of the others). But, when we come to the epistle to the Hebrews, the pattern seems to be different:

God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

-Hebrews 1:1-2

Why would God see fit to change the format from other epistles, and, on top of that, not clearly indicate from whose pen these words flowed? I believe the answer is very simple: the format is the same!

The truth is that nothing in God’s Word is done arbitrarily. Many times we may not understand God’s reason for the way something is expressed, but we must come to this Book with the presupposition that it has very definite purpose and meaning. The introduction to the book of Hebrews is no different. In this case, I believe that God is simply emphasizing the fact that He wrote the book! The message is spoken clearly in the first few lines. It is simply that God hath spoken by His Son. The theme is then developed that He is better than the angels, and as such, we must pay attention to His Word. All of the warnings in this book flow from that truth. All of the exhortations given are true because He hath spoken by His Son.

Therefore, we see that the familiar pattern for the epistles has not changed.  God simply emphasizes divine authorship in a special way with the opening phrases of this wonderful letter.

When I came to this realization, I put aside my opinions concerning the human author.  I still have an opinion, but I no longer think it matters!  I was ready to argue it, and perhaps I still will, but it is not the issue to focus on.  Rather, let us remember that God wrote the book, and it is for this reason—not the supposed authorship of Paul, or Apollos, or Luke, or whoever else you may think penned it—that we must read it, study it, memorize it, mediate on it, and heed it.  May God illumine us with His Holy Spirit to understand His word and obey it!

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2013 in Bible Study, Hebrews, Inspiration