We saw yesterday that the writer of Hebrews warned us not to be like Esau who tossed aside his inheritance because of his ungodliness, and was unable to regain it though he begged for his father’s blessing with tears.
And we said that many people are like that today. God has offered them the right to become his children and heirs, but because of their love for sin and the things of this world, they reject the inheritance that could be theirs.
Why is that so bad? Because of just how awesome and precious that inheritance is, and the price that was paid so that we might take hold of it.
It’s hard to see the connection between verses 17-18 in the NIV, but there is one. Just add the word “for” at the start of verse 18. (It’s there in the Greek. For some reason, the NIV omits it).
The writer of Hebrews says,
[For] You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.” The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.” (18-21)
When God revealed himself to the Israelites on Sinai and gave them the first covenant that included the promise of an earthly inheritance, it was an awesome thing. There was a fire, darkness, gloom and storm, and a fearful voice. And the people were commanded, “Don’t approach the mountain. If even an animal touches it, it must be killed.” Even Moses was frightened to approach God on this holy mountain.
But all that said, it was a physical mountain. It was of this world. And the inheritance they received based on this covenant was only a temporal one.
Now though, we approach a completely different mountain, with a new covenant, and an eternal inheritance. The writer of Hebrews tells us,
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (22-24)
Note the differences here. We’re not going to an earthly mountain to approach God, but a heavenly one. And we don’t come before God cowering with fear, but with rejoicing. Why?
Because while we come to a God who will judge all people, Jesus is our mediator, and he put the new covenant into effect with his own blood. And while the blood of Abel cried out for justice and vengeance, the blood of Jesus rings out with a cry of forgiveness and mercy. So we won’t be standing before God trembling in fear. Rather we will stand in wonder at his grace.
More, although this earth will one day be shaken and all old things removed, we will receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken and will stand forever. (28)
All this awaits us.
How then, can we be like Esau, and reject such an awesome inheritance paid for at such a great cost?
How about you? God offers you life. Will you accept it? It’s as easy as a prayer.
Father, for too long I have been seeking joy and and happiness from the things of this earth. But I realize now that the things of this earth can never bring me satisfaction. That joy and peace can only be found in you. Forgive me for turning my back on you for so long. For hurting you, and those around me out of my pursuit to please myself. Thank you that Jesus died on a cross to pay the penalty for my sin. Now be my Father and my King. Show me the path of life each day. In Jesus name, amen.