Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Hebrews. Or does he...?

I'm back round to Hebrews on my bible reading plan and I've realised that a lot of it is quite confusing! I love all the chat about Jesus as the high priest - our hilasterion who administered the ultimate blood sacrifice and continues to intercede for us in order that God's just wrath against us is permanently placated. Awesome stuff.

One thing I really don't get is Melchizedek. I understand what the author is doing in showing Jesus to be a high priest not bound by Levitical law, but who the heck was Melchizedek?! Where did he come from? Where did he go? (where does he come from, cotton-eye joe) How come Hebrews makes such a big deal about him when the Old Testament doesn't really seem to? Maybe I'm just reading it wrong.

Also, I'm intrigued by chapter 4 - "The Sabbath Rest". It seems to refer to the seventh day as as a future event which may or may not be entered, seemingly dependent on being in the 'People of God'. This is interesting, especially in terms of the impact on interepreting Genesis. For if this seventh day is the reward for obedience, rather than a weekly day of chill-out time, then no longer does one have to follow the 7 x 24 hours view. On the face of it this makes things a lot easier - dinosaurs, the poetic nature of the account/similarity to other ancient cosmologies etc etc. However, that's one heck of a big step to take on the back of an inference from one chapter of one book - hence the continued confusion on my part! Any thoughts would be appreciated.

On the more practical side of things, it's been another crazy few weeks. God's really been reminding me how much I need to rely on him for everthing: energy, joy, the ability to do my job! We've had a shed-load of new students this year and it's tempting to feel proud about that sometimes. Don't get me wrong, it's amazing and I'm delighted, but they're a gift from God and he just chooses to use me to help facilitate them. And like the good steward, i need to recognise the significance of this and respond accordingly - i.e. not lazy/resting on laurels and driven by a reverence of the giver and a desire to see them and the church grow, not a desire to make myself look good.

RE: joy, it's been quite a difficult time personally for various reasons (Well, one main one really) but again God's teaching me to look to him and not to other things, no matter how great I think they might be! I just need to make sure I'm obedient and rely! One thing I've been saying to others loads recently is that joy is a mindset, not an emotion - it comes from the knowledge of who God is and what he's done for us/what he will do for us at the judgement seat. Time for a spot of preach-practising!!

I feel it would only be fitting to close with one of my favourite verses form Hebrews, for no other reason than I just love it!

"For we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved" - Hebrews 10:39