Brokenness to Beauty

Transforming Your Brokenness into a Beautiful Life

Let-us Gathering: Fear!

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“Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.” (NIV)

“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” (KJV)

“Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.” (NASB)

I found it interesting that in this verse we are told to fear something. It got me to thinking about 1) what we are to fear, and 2) how often in scripture (well, at least the New Testament) we are told to fear something or someone. There are many passages where Jesus or the writers of scripture tell us not to fear, and I take courage from them to “not fear.” But there are also definite things we are to fear. One is here in Hebrews chapter four. There are others but you’ll have to look them up yourself. I’m going to focus on what we are to fear.

Since we are to fear something, what does that mean? Or more to the point, what did the writer, by inspiration of the Spirit of God, mean by the word used? Bottom line: What is God telling us? These are his words to us.

“Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.” (ESV)

In the first three chapters of the book the writer of Hebrews had been building an argument for taking heed to (hearing and doing) God’s Word, which had been spoken in the past by prophets and finally through his Son, Jesus Christ (Heb. 1: 1-3). He presents evidence that Jesus is greater than the angels, those spirit-servants of God, because Jesus is God (1: 4-14). So then we should anchor our lives to what we have heard so we do not slide away from the truth into sin and the penalty of disobedience (2:1-18).

Then the writer makes a comparison between the position of a servant in a household to that of the builder of the house who is, in fact, the builder of everything: God. Moses was a faithful servant in God’s house, but Jesus is greater because he is the faithful Son over God’s house. And we are that house of God over which the Son resides, “if it be that” we “hold fast or maintain our confidence and the hope of which we boast firm unto the end” (3:1-6).

So in light of that, and the fact that there is still a Rest of God open to us, we are not to be like the Israelites who refused to believe God’s word and therefore could not and did not enter that rest (3:7-19). (There is a whole study in itself on the Rest of God, but I can’t go there now; you’ll have to jump on that yourself.)

We are all too much like those Israelites; we have the same sinful, fallen nature they had. But we also, like them, have the freedom to choose to believe God—or not. They heard the words of God, we have heard the words of God. Will we believe and obey (for to believe is to obey)?

“Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.” (ESV)

The word “fear” in this verse carries the sense “to be fearfully anxious.” It is a strong admonition. This is not to be taken lightly! There are dire consequences to ignoring and disobeying the word of God. Look at the Israelites (Numbers 13-14).

How did the Israelites “hear,” and how are we expected and warned to “hear”? They didn’t believe God and live by what he said. They heard the same good news which has been handed down to us, and which we have now heard as well. Do we believe God? Do we believe and obey him in the hard times as well as the easy times of our lives?

This is how we are to differ from the Israelites in the way we “hear” the word of God: do not harden our hearts; hear with the intent of obeying. We must humble our hearts (3:12-19). We are to be fearfully anxious that we do not allow our hearts to become hard to the things God says. And miss out on his promised rest.

And not just for our individual selves, but we are to “encourage one another” (3:13).

Peter put it another way, a more positive way, as a command to action to intentionally add to what we already know and do (II Peter 1:3-11; 3:18). Paul said it another way as well: work out your salvation with fear (same root word) and trembling, for it is God who is working in us (do we know that?) to do his will and that which pleases him (Philippians 2—the whole chapter is gripping).

The more I think about it, the more I see the Spirit of God saying the same things throughout scripture. It is all of a piece.

Hebrews 4:1 is one of the Let-us commands: Let us fear. We are to be fearfully anxious that we not allow our hearts, individually and corporately, to become hard against God by lightly dismissing his word, by not being intentional to carve out time to read/hear and obey it, by ignoring it, by refusing to obey it.

I’ve only begun to scratch at the surface of the riches of this one verse. There is so much here in this book of Hebrews!

What will we do with the Word of God? Anchor our lives to it or cast off and drift away from it?

 

See also Interlinear for the rest of us: the reverse interlinear for New Testament word studies, by Wm. D. Mounce, published by Zondervan; and Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible by James Strong, published by Hendrickson Publishers.

Scriptures taken from Bible Gateway https://www.biblegateway.com/

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2 thoughts on “Let-us Gathering: Fear!

  1. It helps me to look at creation around me and as I read Job 38 and 39 and so many other chapters of truth. I humbly and reverently understand to walk in his word is to rest.

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