WONDERFUL THING IN THIS PASSAGE – If you’re not as close to God as you once were, it’s probably because you gradually drifted away. You didn’t wake up one morning and decide God wasn’t worth pursuing anymore. It’s just that situations or people came along that demanded your attention more than God did – for just a little while – just until things got back to normal. And it took longer than it should have, and then “there’s always something else.” You didn’t run away, you just drifted.
When a child of God finds himself distant from his Father, it’s less often the result of rebellion than it is of either neglect or discouragement. The writer of Hebrews provides effective remedies for both. If our problem is neglect, “We must pay attention!” – literally “far more attention.”
“For this reason, we must pay attention all the more to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away … How will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? This salvation had its beginning when it was spoken of by the Lord, and it was confirmed to us by those who heard him. At the same time, God also testified by signs and wonders, various miracles, and distributions of gifts from the Holy Spirit according to his will. (Heb. 2:1, 3-4).
When Hebrews was written, the New Testament had not yet been compiled, but most of its parts were already in circulation. The words of the Lord Jesus had been recorded, explained, and confirmed “by those who heard them” in the gospels. The Acts and the letters of the apostles were spreading news of God’s continuing miracles in the churches as He distributed the Holy Spirit’s gifts to His people. Consistent, careful attention to these elements of the Word of God was essential to avoid drifting away from their Author. It still is.
Sometimes we wander away from God more through discouragement. We look around and see that much is not as it should be, both in our world and in our lives. God said that He had “subjected everything under His [Son’s] feet…He left nothing that is not subject to Him” (Heb. 2:8). But it doesn’t look that way. We’re still sick; we’re still tired; the bad guys sometimes still win.
The writer of Hebrews joins us in that frustration but gives us the key to remaining close to God and maintaining a positive, victorious outlook in difficult circumstances: “As it is, we do not yet see everything subjected to him. But we do see Jesus…crowned with glory and honor” (Heb. 2:8-9).
WONDERFUL THING IN OUR LIVES – At times when I couldn’t see a solution or a way forward, I’ve been buoyed up by these five words: “But we do see Jesus!” Just to gaze upon our Lord, in prayer and in His Word, and to contemplate His goodness and glory will draw us close again as nothing else can.
“Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him who endured such hostility from sinners against himself, so that you won’t grow weary and give up” (Heb. 12:1-3).