Hebrews 12:12-13 ESV
“Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.”
Hands are often a symbol of our deeds, and drooping can mean limp, which can mean lifeless or diminishing or declining. And our knees are often symbolic of submission and surrender of one’s own will to the will of God. But weak knees are symbolic of fear and lack of courage. So weak knees could also indicate lack of or deficiency in submission and surrender to God.
So, if we are to lift our drooping hands, and if we are to strengthen our weak knees, what should that look like? Well, it appears to me that this is a call to those who are not doing so well spiritually. They are believers in Jesus, but they have let their walks of faith get lazy to almost non-existent. They are not doing the things they did before in obedience to the Lord, but now they are distracted with the things of this world.
And they are not living their lives in holiness and in righteousness, in obedience to the Lord and in submission to his will and in surrender of their lives to him, but they have drifted away from their pure devotion to the Lord and they are now caught up in the pleasures of this sinful world. And their lives are surrendered to the passions of the flesh instead of to God.
And the call is for one to pick up those diminishing or declining deeds – the ones God prepared in advance that we should walk in them – and to put them back into practice and to stop doing whatever it is one is doing that is making those deeds diminish. And it is to stop being lazy and being distracted by the things of this sinful world, and it is to put on holiness, righteousness, obedience, and surrender to the will of God.
And to make straight paths for one’s feet is to follow the narrow road and to go through the narrow gate, which is the hard way which few travel, for it is the way of suffering, and of holiness, and of daily dying to sin and to self and of following Jesus in obedience to his commands day by day. And in that way, what was weak will be strengthened, and it will operate as designed.
[Revelation 2:1-3:22; Matthew 7:13-14; Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:14]
Hebrews 12:14 ESV
“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”
Now the kind of peace that we are to pursue with everyone is not world peace. It is not lack of conflict. It is not compromise with the essentials of the Christian faith and practice and with sin and with evil. It is not bowing to what we know is not right even if commanded to by those in authority over us, for we do not have to obey authority which leads us to disobey God.
We have biblical examples of this. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow to the golden statue and they were put into a fiery furnace. But Jesus, I believe it was, appeared in the furnace with them and they were not harmed and they escaped. And then Daniel was told he had to stop praying to his God but he continued, out in the open, just as he had always done, and he was thrown into a den of lions, but God rescued him, too.
Jesus did not submit in every way to the governing authorities over him which is one of the reasons they hated him and had him killed. So, not everyone is rescued. Some people are put to death for standing for what is right and for refusing to compromise with what they know is wrong. But Jesus didn’t stay dead. He rose again to save us from our sins.
So, it is perfectly alright for us to say “No!” to what we know is wrong and to not compromise our faith and morals in the name of peace. For we are also to strive (pursue) for holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Did you hear that? We are called to be holy which means to be different from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ. And without this, we will not see the Lord. We need to take this to heart!
Hebrews 12:15-17 ESV
“See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.”
Now, the “grace of God” is being handed out to people these days like candy, free for the taking, no strings attached. But the grace of God, which brings salvation, trains (teaches) us to renounce (to say “No!” to) ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return (Titus 2:11-14).
And the grace of God frees us from our slavery (addiction) to sin, and it empowers us to live godly and holy lives. And so it does not give us permission to keep living in deliberate sin against our Lord and against our fellow humans. For our old self was crucified with Christ in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin but to God and to his righteousness (Romans 6:1-23).
So, if we deliberately go on sinning after we receive the knowledge of the truth, then we are in danger of trampling underfoot the Son of God, and of profaning the blood of the covenant by which we were sanctified, and of outraging the Spirit of grace, and of not having salvation from sin and eternal life with God but of facing God’s judgment (Hebrews 10:26-31).
“For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:4).
So, it is possible for people to fail to obtain the grace of God, because they do not submit to him as Lord, and they have not forsaken their sinful practices, and they are not following Jesus in obedience. For, again, God’s grace is not free license to continue living in sin, but it sets us free from our slavery to sin so that we can walk in holiness and righteousness in the power of God in obedience to him and to his commands.
So, don’t be like Esau. Don’t sell off your salvation and eternal life with God so that you can continue to live in sin, in sexual immorality, in idolatry, in adultery, in lying, in thievery, or in any sin which has a grip on your life. And feeling badly that you sinned, even if you do at all, is not an indication of true repentance. Repentance is turning from the sin to obey God.
[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 14:23-24; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Medley of Choruses
Let’s Talk About Jesus,
The King Of Kings Is He,
The Lord Of Lord’s Supreme,
The Great I Am, The Way,
The Truth, The Life The Door,
Let’s Talk About Jesus More And More.
Isn’t He wonderful, wonderful, wonderful
Isn’t Jesus my Lord wonderful
Eyes have seen, ears have heard
It’s recorded in God’s Word
Isn’t Jesus my Lord wonderful
Wonderful, Wonderful, Jesus Is To Me,
Counselor, Prince Of Peace, Mighty God Is He;
Saving Me, Keeping Me From All Sin And Shame,
Wonderful Is My Redeemer, Praise His Name!
Precious name! Oh, how sweet!
Hope of earth and joy of heav’n;
Precious name! Oh, how sweet!
Hope of earth and joy of heav’n.
Heaven is a wonderful place,
Filled with glory and grace,
I want to see my Savior’s face.
Heaven is a wonderful,
Heaven is a glorious,
Heaven is a wonderful place.
But until then my heart will go on singing,
Until then with joy I’ll carry on,
Until the day my eyes behold the city,
Until the day God calls me home.
Home, sweet home, home, sweet home–
Where I’ll never roam!
I see the light of that city so bright–
My home, sweet home.
[When I was a youth, over fifty years ago, we used to sing medleys of choruses from various Christian songs and hymns, and I still remember this medley, though I found I had to look up some of the lyrics.]