God’s Word Goes Forth: Encourage One Another in Faith
Hebrews 12:1-11: God’s new people are surrounded by faithful witnesses from the past and present. This crowd of witnesses cheers people on in the race of faith. The writer compares God to a father who disciplines his children.
Today's Scripture: Hebrews 12:2a
Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross!
1 As for us, we have this large crowd of witnesses around us. So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us. 2 Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right side of God's throne. 3 Think of what he went through; how he put up with so much hatred from sinners! So do not let yourselves become discouraged and give up. 4 For in your struggle against sin you have not yet had to resist to the point of being killed. 5 Have you forgotten the encouraging words which God speaks to you as his children? “My child, pay attention when the Lord corrects you, and do not be discouraged when he rebukes you. 6 Because the Lord corrects everyone he loves, and punishes everyone he accepts as a child.” 7 Endure what you suffer as being a father's punishment; your suffering shows that God is treating you as his children. Was there ever a child who was not punished by his father? 8 If you are not punished, as all his children are, it means you are not real children, but bastards. 9 In the case of our human fathers, they punished us and we respected them. How much more, then, should we submit to our spiritual Father and live! 10 Our human fathers punished us for a short time, as it seemed right to them; but God does it for our own good, so that we may share his holiness. 11 When we are punished, it seems to us at the time something to make us sad, not glad. Later, however, those who have been disciplined by such punishment reap the peaceful reward of a righteous life.
In 12:7-11, the writer compares the relationship between God and people to that of the relationship between a father and child. What is the purpose of punishment or discipline given by earthly parents or other authorities? What do you think about the comparison of God to a parent? In what ways is God like or not like your parents?
Nurturing God, like a wise parent, you correct our ways. Like a gracious parent, you forgive our mistakes. Like a loving parent, your care for us is unconditional. Thank you for loving me. Amen.