God’s Word Goes Forth: Encourage One Another in Faith
Hebrews 12:12-29: The writer of today’s passage contrasts Mount Sinai with Mount Zion. Mount Zion is called “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (12:22). This heavenly city is the place where Christ went to be with God, and where “God’s first-born” (12:23) will go to live with God.
Today's Scripture: Hebrews 12:28
Let us be thankful, then, because we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Let us be grateful and worship God in a way that will please him, with reverence and awe.
12 Lift up your tired hands, then, and strengthen your trembling knees! 13 Keep walking on straight paths, so that the lame foot may not be disabled, but instead be healed. 14 Try to be at peace with everyone, and try to live a holy life, because no one will see the Lord without it. 15 Guard against turning back from the grace of God. Let no one become like a bitter plant that grows up and causes many troubles with its poison. 16 Let no one become immoral or unspiritual like Esau, who for a single meal sold his rights as the older son. 17 Afterward, you know, he wanted to receive his father's blessing; but he was turned back, because he could not find any way to change what he had done, even though in tears he looked for it. 18 You have not come, as the people of Israel came, to what you can feel, to Mount Sinai with its blazing fire, the darkness and the gloom, the storm, 19 the blast of a trumpet, and the sound of a voice. When the people heard the voice, they begged not to hear another word, 20 because they could not bear the order which said, “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” 21 The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling and afraid!” 22 Instead, you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, with its thousands of angels. 23 You have come to the joyful gathering of God's first-born, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, who is the judge of all people, and to the spirits of good people made perfect. 24 You have come to Jesus, who arranged the new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that promises much better things than does the blood of Abel. 25 Be careful, then, and do not refuse to hear him who speaks. Those who refused to hear the one who gave the divine message on earth did not escape. How much less shall we escape, then, if we turn away from the one who speaks from heaven! 26 His voice shook the earth at that time, but now he has promised, “I will once more shake not only the earth but heaven as well.” 27 The words “once more” plainly show that the created things will be shaken and removed, so that the things that cannot be shaken will remain. 28 Let us be thankful, then, because we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Let us be grateful and worship God in a way that will please him, with reverence and awe; 29 because our God is indeed a destroying fire.
Israel’s King David conquered the city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem included a high place known as Mount Zion. This stronghold was also known as “the city of David.” What do Mount Zion and Jerusalem represent to the writer of this text? What does the idea of “the city of the living God” (12:22) mean to you?
Life-Giving God, even as I yearn to live with you in heaven, fill me with your Holy Spirit, that I may show others a glimpse of what it means to dwell in the city of the living God. Amen.