Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle which was written unto the Hebrews. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first four verses of the second chapter. When we come to this portion of scripture we begin one of six different calls to action found within this letter. As we approach this section of scripture we encounter a very specific call to action that has as its foundation everything that was written in the entire first chapter. Before we even begin to make any attempt to read and understand what is found and written in this passage of Scripture we must turn our attention to what is recorded in the first chapter, for what we have before us in this chapter is a powerful declaration concerning God the Father, as well as Jesus Christ who is His eternal and begotten Son. As has already been mentioned in a previous writing—when we come to the first chapter of this epistle, the very first reality we are immediately confronted with is the reality, the revelation, the presence, and the existence of God. In the opening verse of the first chapter of this epistle we find the author beginning—not with the name of a specific man, but rather with the name of Almighty God. As the first chapter—and ultimately the entire epistle of Hebrews—opens, it does so with an acknowledgement of the reality and existence of God. In other words, before we are even faced with anything else in this epistle we are first called to acknowledge and address our own belief and understanding in the existence of God. Much like the Old Testament book of Genesis essentially begins with the existence of God, the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews brings us back into that place concerning and regarding the existence of God. As we approach this epistle we are once more brought into the place where we are forced to not only acknowledge the reality of the existence of God, but also whether or not we still believe in and feel the same way about Him as we previously did at the beginning. AS IT WAS IN THE BEGINNING!
Pause for a moment and consider this reality of what is found in this passage of scripture, for it is absolutely imperative and necessary that we ask ourselves whether or not we feel the same way about God as we have in the beginning. In the opening verse of the Bible, and in the opening book of the Bible we are confronted—not only with the existence of God, but also with the eternity of God, for He was not only there in the beginning, but He was also there before the beginning. In the opening verse of the entire Bible we encounter the reality that God was in the beginning, and that there in the beginning God was creating. As we transition to the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews we are once more confronted with the reality of the existence of God, but in the reality that God is speaking. What’s more, is that God speaking is essentially the fundamental nature of His creativity and His creative. With the exception of man, everything that was created in the first five days of creation were brought into existence based on and because of the spoken word of God. There was nothing that was made that did not come into existence without and apart from the spoken word of God. While in the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews we specifically find God speaking—in the Old Testament book of Genesis we find God creating through His ability to speak. If you read the entire first chapter of the Old redeeming book of Genesis you will find that everything which came into existence did so based on the fact and reality that God was speaking. Even more than this—we find God beginning to speak in the midst of darkness and void, and from within that place of darkness and void creation began to spring forth. How incredibly powerful it is that while the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis might appear to be centered upon the creative act of God, that creative action did not operate without and apart the spoken nature and element of Almighty God.
I have to admit that I am absolutely and wonderfully taken by what we find and what we read in the first chapters of the Old Testament book of Genesis, as well as the New Testament epistle which was written unto the Hebrews. The reason for this is actually quite simple, for while in the first chapter of the epistle which was written unto the Hebrews focuses on God speaking—not only in times past unto the fathers, but in these last days through His Son, we find in the Old Testament book of Genesis God speaking into the midst of darkness and void. In the Old Testament book of Genesis—when God spoke that which was in His heart and mind, it was His spoken words which caused that which previously was not and had not been in existence to come into existence. Think about that reality for a moment, for not only does God have the ability to speak into nothing, not only does God have the ability to speak into that which is void, but He also has the ability to bring forth out of nothing that which begins to manifest in the midst of nothing. BRINGING INTO VOID SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING! BRINGING INTO DARKNESS SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING! Oh, only the Almighty God has the ability to—not only speak things into existence, but also speak things into existence which previously were not. There is something truly powerful about the reality and concept that God has the ability to speak into the darkness and void within our lives and bring forth that which previously was not—simply by speaking a word. Does that reality truly captivate you when you take the time to think about and consider it? Are you absolutely immersed and saturated with and by the reality that the creative power of God is found and bound within that which proceeds forth from His mouth? When was the last time you stopped for a moment considered the awesome reality that Gods ability to create is directly bound up within His ability to speak, and that when He speaks—not only do things begin to change, but so also do things begin to be created. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the prophet Isaiah spoke concerning the word of God, and what it accomplishes within the earth. Consider if you will the words which the prophet Isaiah spike in the prophetic book which bears his name concerning the word of God:
“Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:6-11).
Within this particular passage found in the prophetic book of Isaiah we immediately and directly encounter the tremendous reality that when the word of God goes forth out of and from His mouth—not only does it not return unto Him void, but it also accomplishes that which He pleases. What’s more, is that the word which goes forth from the mouth of God can and will prosper in the thing whereto the Lord has sent it. This is essentially the tremendous reality behind what we find and what we read in the Old Testament book of Genesis, for the Lord God speaks, and as a direct result of His speaking, that which previously was not suddenly and immediately comes forth. I still can’t get over the tremendous reality and concept that when the Lord opens His mouth to speak, that which was previously in His heart, and that which was previously in His mind suddenly breaks forth and manifests within the expanse before Him. In the second verse of the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis we find that the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2). This is actually quite remarkable when you take the time to consider it, for when we come to the third verse of the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis we not only find the earth being without form and void, but we also find darkness being upon the face of the deep. It was from this place of being without form, and from this place of complete and utter void that God begins to speak. What’s more, is that even before we find God speaking into that void and darkness, we first find the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters. The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, and immediately after we read of the Spirit of God moving upon the waters, we find God beginning to speak. In the first verse of this first chapter we find God being present in the beginning, while in the second verse we find the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters. When we come to the third verse of this very same chapter, we find the process whereby God created the heaven and the earth. While in the first verse we merely encounter the reality that God created the heaven and the earth—in verses three through the end of the chapter we find the process of that creation. When we speak of the creative power of God, we must recognize and understand that His creative power is absolutely and intrinsically connected to His ability to speak, for the words which He speaks have the power and the authority to bring forth that which previously had not been in existence into existence. In the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis we find the Lord God bringing forth that which was in His heart, and that which was in His mind by speaking into the vast expanse that was before Him. Oh that we would truly come to terms with and recognize this all important reality, for it can and will radically alter and shape our opinion of God.
In the first chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews we find God in times past speaking unto the Fathers through His servants the prophets, however, even with that being said, we find God speaking in an entirely new and different way in these Last Days. In these last days God has not spoken unto us by the prophets, but has spoken unto us by and through His eternal and only begotten Son. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which are found in the New Testament gospel of John, and specifically in the first chapter of the epistle. Consider if you will the words which are found first and foremost in the first five verses of the chapter: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:1-5). A similar reality is found in the New Testament epistle which was written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Colossae. Consider if you will the words which are found in the first chapter of the epistle beginning with the ninth verse: “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joy fulness; giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature: for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in the earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is in the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; but him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Colossians 1:9-20).
What we find in in these two passages is the divine presence of the eternal Word as He was intimately and directly involved in and with the creation of all things. It is true that when we come to the first chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews we find God speaking unto us by His Son, it is absolutely necessary that we first recognize that before God began speaking unto us in these last days by His Son, He was speaking through the Son from the very beginning. The first chapter of the New Testament gospel of John brings us face to face with the reality that the word was in the beginning, and that the Word was in the beginning with God, and that the Word was God in the beginning. This is actually a remarkable statement, for it forces us to acknowledge that when we read the opening chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis—not only was the Spirit of God present within creation, but so also was the divine Word present. What’s more, is that both the apostle John, as well as the apostle Paul emphatically declare that there was not anything made that was not made and brought into existence by, with and through the divine Word, which is Jesus the Christ. It is absolutely true that God has spoken to us in these Last Days by His Son, but we must recognize that God has been speaking since the very beginning by, with and through His Son. Not only this, but everything that has been created—both that which is visible, as well as that which is invisible—was brought into existence through and by the Word. When we come to the four gospels found at the beginning of the New Testament, we must recognize and understand that these gospels weren’t the first time God spoke through His Son, for He has been speaking through the Son since the beginning of time. Oh that we would clearly and succinctly recognize and understand that the Son has always been intimately involved in the creative act and the creative power of God, for the Son is the word of God made flesh. When the eternal Son of God entered into the realm of time and space it was the first time that the Word of God was actually made flesh and appeared in human form. Up until then the word of God was directly involved in creating something out of nothing, and bringing into existence that which previously was not present within the realm of time and space.
Now, when the eternal Son was manifested in the earth, that same word which spoke and brought forth that which previously was not in existence into existence was in the form of human flesh. What an absolutely incredible and amazing concept it is to think about and consider the fact that the word of God which would not return unto Him void, but would accomplish that which it was sent and intended on accomplishing actually took on and became flesh. Not only this, but for the first time in history the word of God didn’t merely bring into existence that which previously was not in existence, but the word actually put on flesh and became visible in the realm of time and space. WHEN THE WORD BECOMES VISIBLE IN THE EARTH! WHEN THE INVISIBLE WORD OF GOD BECOMES VISIBLE! The reality and concept of the eternal Word taking on the form of human flesh, and actually causing the invisible to become visible is absolutely remarkable and astonishing, for that which was previously hidden and concealed, and was only manifested through and by that which was created was now completely and totally visible. Not only was the eternal Son present with the Father in the beginning when the heaven and the earth were created, but now also the eternal Son was present within and present upon the earth in the form of human flesh. We must remember that when Jesus was upon the earth, He emphatically and without hesitation and reservation declared unto His disciples and those who followed Him that those who saw Him saw His Father who was in heaven. What’s more, is that for the first time in history the voice of God could actually be heard audibly as you and I would talk with one another. The type of relationship Moses experienced with God in that He spoke with Him face to face as a man would speak with His friend was now made possible through, with and by the eternal Son being present within and upon the earth. Now flesh and blood could actually interact with the Word of God, for the Word of God itself took on flesh and blood. How absolutely remarkable it is that the Word of God would take on flesh and blood in order to accomplish that which it couldn’t previously accomplish in the invisible realm. It is true, and it was true that the invisible spoken word of God could create something out of nothing, but it is also true the word of God could not ultimately accomplish that which the Father desired to do without and apart from taking on the form of flesh and blood. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the author of this epistle unto the Hebrews wrote in this same second chapter concerning the eternal Word and Son beginning with the eighth verse:
“Thou hast put all things in subjection under His feet. For in that He put all in subjection under Him, He left nothing that is not put under Him. But now we see not yet all things put under Him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in Him. And again, Behold, I and the children which God hath given me. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy Him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:8-18).
In the first chapter of the New Testament epistle which the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews we find God in these Last Days speaking unto us by His Son, and then immediately in the very next chapter the author calls us to respond to that which we had just heard and read. Consider the words which the author of this epistle wrote in the second chapter of this epistle beginning with the first verse:
“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will?” (Hebrews 2:1-4).
What we must realize and recognize when reading the words which are found at the beginning of the second chapter of this particular epistle, is that this wasn’t the first time there was a specific call to action—and not merely a specific call to action, but also a call to respond to that which was spoken. Oh, it is absolutely wonderful that we can read in the first chapter that God has in these Last Days spoken unto us by His Son, however, what good is it if we know that God has spoken and is speaking by His Son, and yet we completely ignore, reject, and perhaps even despise that which has been spoken through and by the Son? The second chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews calls us to give heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip or run out as a leaky vessel. The author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews wasn’t merely concerned with our mental assent and knowledge of the fact that God has spoken unto us by and through His Son, but the author wanted to ensure that we were brought to a place of action. What we must recognize when reading these words is that if and when God speaks—especially when He speaks unto us by and through His Son—it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we not only hear, but also give heed to that which was spoken. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which Jesus spoke at the conclusion of what has become known as His Sermon on the Mount. Even at the very end and conclusion of this Sermon on the Mount we find Jesus calling those who heard His words to hear, to listen, and to respond to that which they have heard. Beginning with the twenty-fourth verse of the seventh chapter we find the following words:
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken Him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:24-27).
It is absolutely crucial and critical that we understand the tremendous responsibility we have to the word of God—particularly and especially when we hear it. It is not enough for us to mentally assent to the fact that God is speaking, and that God has spoken, for we must also hear those words, listen to them, and actively respond to them. In all reality, the entire epistle written unto the Hebrews was not merely about the supremacy of the eternal Son, but also about our response to the voice and word of God. This is especially true when we consider the word and voice of God speaking unto us through and by His eternal Son. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the author of this epistle wrote in the twelfth chapter of the epistle beginning with the twenty-fifth verse: “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: whoso voice then shook the earth: but now He hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:25-29). This reality is also further heightened and confirmed when transitioning to the third chapter of this same epistle, for if you begin reading with and from the twelfth verse of the third chapter you find the following words: “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.k But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; while it is said, To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was He grieved forty years? Was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into His rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:12-18). Again in the very next chapter the author continues to expound upon this reality, for beginning with the first verse we find the following words:
“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come s host of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as He said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, and God did rest the seventh day from all His works…Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we can do” (Hebrews 4:1-4, 11-13).
I fell compelled to leave you with the words which James wrote in the first chapter of the epistle which he wrote in the New Testament beginning with the nineteenth verse of the chapter. Consider if you will the words which James writes in this particular chapter concerning our response to the word which has been spoken, and the word which continues to be spoken unto us: “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engraftment word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearear of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetting what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. IF any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefined before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:19-27).
The question we must ask ourselves at this juncture is whether or not we are men and women who forget who and what we are—men and women whose lives and houses have been built on a crumbling foundation of shifting and sinking sand because we hear the words which have been spoken unto us, yet we do not take them to heart, nor do we respond to and obey them. There is a powerful call within this passage of Scripture to take the more earnest heed to things which we have heard in order that we might be found in a place of active response to what has been spoken. There is nothing more dangerous than one who has heard the words and voice of the living God, and the word which has come forth through His eternal Son, and yet deliberately and intentionally chooses to neglect, ignore, reject, and even despise that which they have heard. Mental assent and mere head knowledge surrounding the word of God is not enough, for the word has always and will always demand action. As certainly and as surely as the word of God brings forth into existence that which previously was not in existence, so also must the word of God bring forth and produce within our hearts a wonderful and powerful sense of activity. Oh that we would recognize the tremendous responsibility we have to that which has been spoken, and that we would actively respond to that which we have heard. James understood that it wasn’t enough merely to be hearers of the word, and not also be doers, and he issued a powerful denunciation to those who would not actively respond to that which they have heard spoken unto them. Oh that we would find ourselves right now in the place where we not only hear that which has been spoken, but also that we actively respond with our whole hearts, our whole minds, and everything that is present within us to the spoken and written word of God within our hearts and lives.