Today’s Bible reading

Read Hebrews Chapter 12

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. For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. They staggered back under God’s command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, “I am terrified and trembling.” No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect.

-Hebrews 12:18-23

More thoughts for meditation

Here in the last section of chapter 12 we have two mountains. “The Mountain of Fear and the Mountain of Joy.” In their intricate, scripturally intense way, our author has been stating and restating their case from many angles: Jesus is new and he is better!

The mountain of fear is Sinai, where Moses and the people of Israel received the Law, where even Moses, privileged as he was, feared for his life, where death was automatic if an animal happened to stray onto the mountain (see Exodus 19:16-19, 20:18-21 and Deuteronomy 4:11-14. The Mountain of Joy is not just Zion, David’s holy hill, Jerusalem, but the New Jerusalem that we see in Revelation 21. We are the celebratory throng that are destined to fill that place with joyous praise.

Throughout the letter the threat of reverting to that fear is present. The threat comes from us not form God. Joy is our destination. Healing is God’s plan for us. Resurrection is God’s promise. But we can choose the old way and that will be our disaster. For the friends of our author who received this letter and for some of us, that choice needs to be made daily. Choose to be God’s child because that is who you are—that is who Christ has made you. Choose joy, not fear.

Suggestions for action

In verses 16-17 “See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.” Esau, in his hunger, rashly sold his birthright as the firstborn to his brother Jacob for a bowl of soup. It is a ridiculous thing to do, but the author is humble enough to know that it could happen to them. It could happen to us too. What desires are you most susceptible to? Name them. There is power just in observing them with Jesus.