12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,
- This follows talking about the chastisement
- The idea is to strengthen ourselves – not our neighbor – not physical frailty.
13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.
- Smooth paths – so you don’t trip
- When the emperor would come to town, you would smooth the road – remove all rocks and bumps.
- Isaiah &John the B talk -For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’”
14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
- What is a roadblock to striving for peace with everyone?
- It depends on me AND the other guy.
- Are there road blocks in striving for holiness? No, It only depends on me.
- Again, we are not all God’s children – we are all God’s creation
- But to be God’s child you must be born again.
15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
- “no one fails” = no one falls short
- “root of bitterness” = unforgiving.
- An unforgiving Christian is a contradiction of terms – Matt 18 speaks of forgiveness – how many times to forgive 70×7.
- Forgiveness does not equal reconciliation – although it could lead there.
- Forgiveness is not a choice – it’s not a feeling, like I will when I feel like it.
- Forgiveness is for your benefit.
16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal.
- To pursue holiness is obvious.
- I find this fascinating what is comparable – as one sin to another.
- Why was Esau unholy? Selling the birthright – the gift of God.
- This is the will of God that you refrain from sexual immorality.
- But we don’t – we are all sexually immoral at times – if only in our minds and we are all unholy and continually sell our birthright … by the deeds we do.
- This is where we all get stuck in the Romans 7 situation.
17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
- Was he seeking the repentance or was he seeking the blessing?
- What is the “it”? This is what makes this passage so difficult.
- Gen 27:34 Esau says “bless me – me too, my father”
- Gen 27:36 “haven’t you reserved any blessing for me?”
- Surely Esau will get what he wants … won’t he?
- Luke 13:23-24 “And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”
A Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken
Even though there is still another chapter, this is really the concluding thought. The remainder of Ch 12.
18 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest
19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them.
- Not a temple – but a mountain – an altar.
- Think about this – Not how can a holy, right and just God send people to hell BUT…
- How can a holy, right and just God allow us into heaven?
- Mt Sinai is the place where God tried to keep people at arm’s length.
20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.”
- Is our God that terrifying?
- No, our God is a God that comes to us in Grace and Forgiveness – In Jesus Christ!!
- But if you return to Temple Judaism, that is a description of the God you will face.
- If you do not believe, you need a God of salvation or you will face the terrifying God.
- Come with Christ as your mediator or come naked and totally exposed.
21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”
- But this is the God of Mount Sinai
- We want and need the God of Mount Calvary.
- A note to something we should study one day is the purpose of the 3 mounts in the Bible – Sinai – Zion & Calvary.