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Wednesday, November 03 2021

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

INTRODUCTION

In last week’s study titled “Understanding God's Discipline” we looked at the reasons that underlays God’s discipline and the benefits of such discipline. We learnt that trials are a part of the Christian walk and different from God’s discipline. God always has a purpose for allowing His children go through difficulties such as the teaching of obedience, the glory of His name, the building of our faith, etc. We also learnt that He only chastises or disciplines you and I because He loves us. Today we shall be considering A Call to Listen to God following from the admonishment in verse 13 to strengthen hands that are down and feeble knees . . .

VERSE 14: PURSUE PEACE, PURSUE HOLINESS
“Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.”

This verse addresses two important aspect of the Christian life. The KJV leads with the phrase “Pursue peace”, the NIV says “Make every effort” Here the NLT admonishes us to “Work at it!” In other words, make it a project, make it your goal! Understand how to live in peace “with everyone” We have been commanded to seek and live in peace among ourselves. (See 2 Corinthians 13:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:13).

But is this ever possible? To live in peace “with everyone”?

There are those who you simply cannot live in peace with unfortunately. Not because of you, but because of them! That is why the Bible in Romans 12:18 says:
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone”

Having said that; we should ensure we are not the ones causing the strife. We should make every effort to live in peace. You should not be the one on the war path with another, the troublemaker and street fighter.

The second part of this verse addresses holiness. We are admonished to “work at living a holy life” We are meant to make every effort as well in living a holy life. Whereas righteousness is credited to us by the finished work of the cross, holiness is not credited to us; we are expected to work at it. 1 Peter 1:15-16 (NIV) says:
“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (See Lev. 11:44-45)

The pursuit of holiness; that state of continual sanctification, that life of purity and detachment from the world and all its lusts, without this detachment and sanctity no man shall see the Lord. To see God, in the Hebrew phrase, is to enjoy Him; and without holiness of heart and life this is impossible.

VERSE 15: WE MUST BE THERE FOR EACH OTHER
“Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.”

Each of us run personal races; but we are called to run in it together. We were made for community; for fellowship. It is truly not good for a man to be alone. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV says:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

The second part of this verse tells us that bitterness is poisonous; and we should watch out for it! it also tells us of three consequences of bitterness
1. The first is from the first part; which tells us that it could cause a person to fail to receive the grace of God
2. The second is that when the poisonous root of bitterness grows up, it becomes trouble to us
3. And finally it will lead to corruption.

VERSE 16: ABSTAIN FROM THE ESAU SYNDROME
“Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal.”

Immorality and godlessness are snares that the devil uses to lure people away from their destiny into destruction. We should not indulge in them or accommodate them. It is usually the pleasure of a passing moment; but the result is deadly!

The MSG version says: “Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite."

We find Esau’s account in Genesis 25: 29-34. From this account we learn the following “Attributes of the Esau Syndrome”
We see that . . .
• He was only concerned about “the now”;
• He did not know the value of what he had so he treated it with levity;
• He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn Genesis 25: 34
• He was godless (Heb.12:16)
• He was driven by his belly and “fainted” under the pressure of hunger.
All these put together caused him to trade away God’s lifelong gift.

VERSE 17: CONSEQUENCES OF THE ESAU SYNDROME
“You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.”

There are consequences for every action we take. And when we suffer the consequences of our actions, we should know that it is not God punishing us! It because if we sow a lifestyle that is in direct disobedience to God's revealed Word, we ultimately reap disaster.
The consequences of sin may not come immediately but they will come eventually. And when they do, there will be no excuses, no rationalization, no accommodation. God does not compromise with consequences. So for Esau, when the time came for the blessing, he reaped the consequences of his actions.
The (b) part of this verse says:
“It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.”

CONCLUSION
VERSES 18-21: THERR ENCOUNTER WAS A MORE PLEASANT ONE

“You have not come to a physical mountain, to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai. 19 For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. 20 They staggered back under God’s command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” 21 Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, “I am terrified and trembling.”

Here the Apostle wanted the Hebrew Christians to realize what Jesus did in drawing us onto the Father by drawing their attention to the encounter their forefathers had in Exodus 19:12,13 & 19.
Right before their eyes, there was flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind. They heard the fierceness of God’s voice and were frightened to extent that they begged God to stop speaking! Even more frightening was the command they could not endure that even if an animal touched the mountain, it will be stoned to death not to talk of themselves!

The MSG version says in verses 19-21:
“The ear-splitting words and soul-shaking message terrified them and they begged him to stop. When they heard the words—“If an animal touches the Mountain, it’s as good as dead”—they were afraid to move. Even Moses was terrified."

So just in case the Hebrew Christians were thinking the Apostle was being too “harsh” on them; talking about discipline (verses 5-13) and the pursuit of peace and holiness; they should realize and so must we that they have it easy by virtue of Jesus’ blood granting us bold access to the Throne of Grace.

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 03:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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