I spent some time in Hebrews 12-13 this morning. So much good stuff in there, but what particularly grabbed me was Hebrews 12:18-28. In the Old Testament, God spoke to Israel at Mt. Sinai and everything shook, they were terrified. That same God is speaking to us today, there is not two different Gods – and Old Testament God with an anger problem, and a kinder, gentler, 80’s feathered-back-hair “Jesus God” in the New Testament. There is one God, in three persons, who is forever the same. One day, God will shake the heavens and the earth, and return to make all things new, to restore forever what sin has broken, to judge, and to usher those who are his into our new “city of the living God.” (12:22)
The parallel is that in our lives, we can experience times when everything around us seems shaken. I have a few close friends who are going thru such times now, and I’m certain I will be there someday as well. No one is immune to such times – when everything we have known as stable for many years is upside down. In these times, it is important to remember the message of this passage – there are things that cannot be shaken. The shaking of our worlds can actually cause us to see more clearly those things. In speaking of this passage, author Michael Horton in “The Gospel Driven Life” writes “Everything that can be shaken will be shaken, the Scriptures remind us, and only the kingdom that God is building will remain.” Hebrews 12:27b says that they are shaken “in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain” – there is a purpose to the times in our lives when everything is upside down – so that we may see more clearly that it is only God’s kingdom that will remain. Sometimes, it takes everything falling down around us in order for us to see what is truly permanent.
So, what do we do in response to this? Heb 12:25 says “See that you do not refuse him who is speaking.” God is still speaking today, right now. God is speaking to you in these times, make a decision to turn from controlling your life, and turn over your life to live for God’s kingdom which cannot be shaken. Our lives are meant to be lived in worship of God. That doesn’t mean walking around singing worship music 24/7, that means turning from sin and toward God’s way in purity and truth and faith, in a healthy respect of who God is.
Hebrews 12:28-29 sums it up well –
“Therefore, let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”