Hebrews 12:25 KJV
“See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape , if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:”
Change is a difficult thing. It messes with all you have known so far. It disrupts your thinking, methods and, of course, your comfort zone…you just don’t want to think of all you will have to let go to allow the change that stares you in the face. This problem with change is as old as the entire human race. When Israel came out of Egypt, even though they could heave a sigh of relief and dance about their newfound freedom, this change of location came with a mandatory change of lifestyle. Jehovah has gotten His people for Himself and He will introduce Himself to them and show them the way of life in His government.
Turning down God’s offer of Himself
Fast forward to Sinai (same as Horeb) and Israel cringes before the Divine Majesty and begs to be excluded from the main privilege of their freedom: the privilege of drawing near to Almighty God without instant death. No nation on earth had ever experienced that (Deuteronomy 4:7, 33). Even Moses who initially met with Jehovah at the burning bush on Mt. Sinai was terrified still by His mighty presence this time (Deuteronomy 4:10-12, 5:4-5, 23-27; Exodus 20:18-21, 19:18).
Turning down God’s offer of priesthood
They were to be a nation of priests, that is, every single Hebrew was intended by God to be a priest, but their refusal to draw near to Him could only accommodate the priesthood to one tribe out of twelve. That was not God’s perfect will. Please check the scriptures. In Exodus 19:6, 22, we see that although God clearly stated that He wanted all the people to be “…a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation…”, we realize that only those people who actually drew near to Him were called priests in verse 22: “And let the priests also, which come near to the Lord…”. And when the people sinned against the LORD by making a golden calf to worship, those who chose to be on the LORD’s side, going to and fro the camp with their swords indiscriminately, were all from the tribe of Levi (Exodus 32:26-28).
Turning down God’s offer of a better covenant
Now, that was how the priesthood that was meant to be a national privilege became a tribal heritage for the Levites (Deuteronomy 33:8-10). Sadly this is still playing out today after God had completed His work of redemption and brought in a better covenant with a better promise (Hebrews 8:6). Although God holds out the same promise to all who are saved, regardless of their race, social standing and denomination; we still see that only a few are interested in God’s best.
In spite of God’s clear declaration to the church that all redeemed saints are now “…a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people…” (1 Peter 2:9), and not just the preachers alone, we see that many still carry the unbelieving heart of those Israelites by drawing back to the barest minimum it takes to serve God, while the remaining few press on to know their God. For these few, it is, “my utmost for His Highest”. They are the ones who take God at His words and accept their call into the priesthood of the believer. Whereas they love their fellow men, it cannot but come behind their love for Christ, and you know, they also love not their lives unto death (Luke 14:26, Revelation 12:11b).
Why can we not agree with God?
Although God had much in store for Israel, He could only do what they were comfortable with. That is a nice way of saying, God had to find a way to accommodate their unbelief. Whenever we refuse to allow God to do as He pleases, to fulfill the fullness of His purposes, and especially, to establish the New Covenant with the concurrent effect of swallowing up the Old Covenant and all its shadows, we are reenacting the unbelief of Israel. The unbelief that turned a journey of 40 days to 40 years and made an entire generation stranded and wasted in the wilderness, save Joshua and Caleb.
This should lead us to understand the cry in the heart of God when He said: “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!” Deuteronomy 5:29 KJV. That was the issue! We can say Moses had this kind of heart because he did not shrink from the presence of the LORD. Little wonder Scriptures say, “He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.” (Psalm 103:7 KJV). Apart from the fact that Moses was called to be a deliverer, he knew the ways of God because He personally knew God and walked with Him (Numbers 12:3, 7). Even God testified about His relationship with Moses. He told Miriam and Aaron that He speaks with Moses face to face and not in visions and dreams that other prophets may be bragging about (Numbers 12:5-8).
These clearly teach us that even in Old testament times, God could find few men whose life and pursuit of the LORD expressed the coming New covenant. Such men were Moses, David, Joshua, Abraham etc. Although the New Covenant was not yet available to all in the olden times, these men’s passion for God gave them a foretaste of what was to come.
So I wonder why you will refuse Him who is speaking from heaven today. I wonder why you will not believe God and pursue His promises in the New Covenant. I wonder why you will still struggle to obey God by yourself when Christ has offered to do the work in and through you. I honestly wonder why we cannot drop the shadows since the Substance is already here. The Author and Finisher of our faith is here now, why do we still want to continue the show the way we think it should be done? The show is not ours; it is the LORD’s!
The Church does not belong to any of us; it is the LORD’s. Why can’t all doctrines give way to Christ? In fact, I must tell you, any doctrine that does not lead you to Jesus is a distraction, a mere mental exercise that lacks transformation. You can throw it away! How can the LORD God be in our midst and we still want to school Him in our peculiar teachings so that He can work according to our preferences? That will not be the LORD anymore, if we could instruct Him. He is not to conform to our image; we are to conform to His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26, Ephesians 4:24, Colossians 3:10).
The Old is ready to vanish away
It is dangerous, really dangerous to refuse Him that speaks from Heaven now. Those who refused Him when He spoke on earth (that’s on Sinai) did not escape the consequences of their unbelief. Even when angels spoke, you dare not disobey or doubt (you can ask Zacharias, John’s father, about his ordeal with the angel Gabriel in Luke 1:18-20). If in the Old Covenant, every disobedience and unbelief was faithfully “rewarded”, how much more shall we not escape, if we allow what Christ is saying to us today to slip out of our hands and by so doing neglect such a great salvation? (Hebrews 2:1-3)
We are not to keep looking down trying to protect our cherished traditions; we are to look up, longing for the King of the Kingdom Himself to take over, to shake what can be shaken until that which cannot be shaken will remain (Hebrews 12:27-28). That which cannot be shaken is the New Covenant and its very installment threatens the continuity of the Old. The inauguration of the New Covenant has already placed the Old one on “probation”, if you like; even though actually, it is already nullified.
That “probation” speaks of a time God has graciously given to allow us to gradually acclimatize to the New Covenant. That is why it says, “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” (Hebrews 8:13 KJV). So, when it says, “…is ready to vanish away”, it means its tenure has expired but it is somehow left on the scene to naturally diminish in glory, until it totally vanish away, as the glory of the New Covenant dawns upon God’s people.
The New Covenant is the answer…
It is this New Covenant that will solve the problem of unfaithfulness among God’s people. Endless rules and regulations might make a “goat” to behave like a “sheep” because they are like ropes that ties them to a certain expectation. So, the obedience of the goat is really due to self preservation, minimum discomfort and especially uniformity. The rope has defined what he can do and even if he loves to do something that is sinful, he cannot do it yet because he has been tied down away from actualizing his lust. Whenever the rope is removed, the “goat” will be himself and go ahead with all he had been longing for.
Christ has met all of God’s righteous requirements and God does not need anyone to try to prove righteousness apart from Christ’s righteousness. He has promised a new Heart and Spirit for every one of us who come to Him and believes. That means, He will remove the nature of a “goat” and replace with that of a “sheep”, so that it will no longer be by a rope on our necks, restraining us, that we able to obey God. Without the ropes, moving freely in life, we are able to live like a sheep following the Shepherd of our souls with a desire to please Him in our inward parts and greatly helped to carry it out outwardly.
Hebrews 8:10 KJV
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
This is definitely a superior Covenant because it transforms us from within, making us right with God and as we renew our minds to understand the privileges of the New Creation Man, we become desirous of God’s will and we are able to proof it by our obedience. The ropes of dos and donts are not necessary for this kind of person, because he freely and willingly obeys God.
Hence, we see that what God wanted in the beginning will still be achieved. God will have a people who will choose the tree of life over the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He will have a people who will choose Christ over the law. He will have a people who will trust and obey rather than struggle and still disobey. If anything is worth living for at all, it is living in the fullness of God’s New Covenant, and watch God Himself defend His finished works in your life.
Image credits: Ligonier, I will follow on WordPress