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Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson

Proverbs 26:13-22: Investment opportunity

A sluggard says, “There’s a lion in the road,
    a fierce lion roaming the streets!”
14 As a door turns on its hinges,
    so a sluggard turns on his bed.
15 A sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
    he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.
16 A sluggard is wiser in his own eyes
    than seven people who answer discreetly.

17 Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears
    is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own.

18 Like a maniac shooting
    flaming arrows of death
19 is one who deceives their neighbor
    and says, “I was only joking!”

20 Without wood a fire goes out;
    without a gossip a quarrel dies down.
21 As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire,
    so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife.
22 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
    they go down to the inmost parts.

The word ”sluggard” is both repulsive and funny at one and the same time. Or so it seems to me. The writer of Proverbs clearly does not approve of laziness. Who would in their right mind?

As I was reflecting on this reading, I happened to listen to the ‘parable of the talents’ in Matthew 25:14-30. These words of the ”master” grabbed my attention: ”You wicked, lazy servant!” (26a). This was said to the servant who ”hid his master’s money” in a hole in the ground. The thing is, we are to be diligent in making good use of the abilities/opportunities the Lord has given us.

Warren Wiersbe comments: ‘As we wait for the Lord to return, we must invest our lives and earn dividends for His glory. Christ gives us opportunities that match our abilities, and the one-talent servant is just as important as the five-talent servant. The key is faithfulness (1 Cor.4:2), for God measures us against ourselves and not against the other servants. Are you afraid to step out by faith and take some risks for God?’ ‘With the Word’, p.651.

Hebrews 2:10: Written into God’s story

In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 

There is one further thing I feel the need to highlight from this tenth verse: it is the sheer God-centredness of it all. Let’s not lose sight of it.This ”everything” includes me. My existence is for God’s purpose and glory; but His existence is not for my benefit (although, all believers would agree that we do greatly benefit from knowing Him – and we are deeply thankful).

Sometimes things needed to be turned around to be fully appreciated. Bible teacher, David Pawson, was once invited to speak on the subject, ‘The Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.’ He said that, at the meeting, he got up and said, ‘I’ve taken the liberty of changing the subject to ‘the believer in the life of the Holy Spirit.’ What an important alteration of perspective that brings, just from switching around the wording.

As we saw recently, the Lord Authors wonderful salvation stories. But He writes us into His script. We don’t get to write Him into ours. Let’s get the order straight.

Hebrews 2:10-18: Jesus’ prayer list!

 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. 12 He says,

“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
    in the assembly I will sing your praises.”

13 And again,

“I will put my trust in him.”

And again he says,

“Here am I, and the children God has given me.”

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

It seems to me that verse 11 forms the text for the remainder of the chapter.

Jesus had to become a human being in order to rescue humans from their slavery to the fear of death, and in order to represent them before God as their Priest.

We need the perfect God-Man to fully save us, and to perfectly understand us (see 4:14-16).

Still today there is a Man in heaven. What Jesus became in the Incarnation He did not unbecome in His Ascension.

”Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf” (Hebrews 7:25).

Someone said, ‘You’re on Jesus’ prayer list. That ought to make your whole day.’

Hebrews 2:10: A God-story

In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 

Before concluding our look at chapter 2, I want to linger one more day over verse 10. Recently, I was praying through the passage. I don’t always do this, but I find it to be a good way to meditate on Scripture. Its meaning often seems to open like a flower when I turn it into prayer. Anyway, I was arrested, and inspired, by the word author (translated pioneer in later versions). I thought to myself, God writes wonderful salvation stories. I’m not just thinking about the moment of conversion, but the on-going story of salvation. (Salvation come is in three tenses: we have been saved; we are being saved; we are yet to be saved ). It is a ‘God-story’ from start to finish, and God is still writing it in our lives right now. This also spurred me to pray by name for people I know, that the Lord will write them into His great big salvation story – an epic which spans the ages.

PRAYER: Lord God, I pray for ——– that you will author your salvation story in his/her life

Hebrews 2:10: Perfect man

 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 

It is as much a heresy to deny the full humanity of Christ as it is repudiate His total divinity.

If a Jesus not quite God is, as someone put it, ‘a bridge broken on the farther side’, a Jesus not quite man is a bridge broken on this side of the chasm.

At first glance, verse 10 may appear strange. ‘But we thought Jesus always was perfect,’ we say. Quite right. He was, and is. But what this is talking about is the perfecting, or completing, of His human experience. The One who was to die to rescue human beings, and then represent them as Priest before God had to be flesh and blood. He had to fully share their humanity. This is something we’re going to see in the remainder of the chapter.

After what has gone before it, it is not surprising that chapter 2 concludes in this way:

 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

So it is in this sense that Jesus was perfected – that He was given a fully human experience. He knows intimately what it is to suffer and be tempted. He became like us in every way – apart from the sinning.

Hebrews 2:9: The bitter taste

 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

Jesus was willing to experience the bitterest taste of all that we might know the sweetest of outcomes:

 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

Someone noted that just as David cut off Goliath’s head with his own sword, so Jesus used the devil’s weapon against him in order to destroy him. Ever since death came furiously riding into the world on the back of sin, we humans have been ‘scared to death of death.’ It was one of the Marx brothers who quipped, ‘It’s not that I’m scared to die; I just don’t want to be around when it happens!’ I guess he speaks for us all. Many a true word… But Jesus can remove the fear from death for those who trust in Him.

Since the children are made of flesh and blood, it’s logical that the Saviour took on flesh and blood in order to rescue them by his death. By embracing death, taking it into himself, he destroyed the Devil’s hold on death and freed all who cower through life, scared to death of death (Verses 14,15: The Message).

I remember the late, great David Watson using this vivid illustration in one of his books. He said he was out walking in the countryside with his family when a bee started buzzing around his daughter’s head. He put his arm around her to shield her, and the bee stung him instead. He went on to say that, having drawn the bee’s sting, it was no longer interested in his daughter and flew away. This is what Jesus has done for us in His death on the Cross, said David. He has drawn death’s sting.

For relection: No Longer Slaves (Official Lyric Video) – Jonathan David and Melissa Helser | We Will Not Be Shaken

Hebrews 2:5-9: The way up is the way down


God didn’t put angels in charge of this business of salvation that we’re dealing with here. It says in Scripture,

What is man and woman that you bother with them;
    why take a second look their way?
You made them not quite as high as angels,
    bright with Eden’s dawn light;
Then you put them in charge
    of your entire handcrafted world.

When God put them in charge of everything, nothing was excluded. But we don’t see it yet, don’t see everything under human jurisdiction. What we do see is Jesus, made “not quite as high as angels,” and then, through the experience of death, crowned so much higher than any angel, with a glory “bright with Eden’s dawn light.” In that death, by God’s grace, he fully experienced death in every person’s place. (The Message).

Note the order. Here we have God, then the angels, then man ‘at number three in the charts’ (as someone put it). What staggering humility that God, the Son, should stoop so low: becoming, for a time, even lower than the angels He Himself created. But now the great reversal has occurred, and Jesus is in His rightful place above the angels.

But He humbled Himself for our sakes.

Furthermore, our Lord set this pattern of ‘downward mobility’ for all His followers to note and pursue (see John 13:1-17; Phil.2:1-11). He shows us ‘God’s law of gravity’ that ‘what goes down must come up.’

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility towards one another, because,

‘God opposes the proud
    but shows favour to the humble.’

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. (1 Peter 5:5b,6).

PRAYER: Lord God, may I be content to take the lowest seat at the table, and trust you to say ‘Come up higher’ in your way and time.

Hebrews 2:5-9a: Man, and the SUPERMAN

God didn’t put angels in charge of this business of salvation that we’re dealing with here. It says in Scripture,

What is man and woman that you bother with them;
    why take a second look their way?
You made them not quite as high as angels,
    bright with Eden’s dawn light;
Then you put them in charge
    of your entire handcrafted world.

When God put them in charge of everything, nothing was excluded. But we don’t see it yet, don’t see everything under human jurisdiction. What we do see is Jesus… (The Message).

It is obvious that when the first man sinned the loss was great. One of the lasting effects of the fall is that people now come nowhere near close to fulfilling their governmental potential. One day, In Christ, it will be fulfilled, but not yet. Not fully.(Although, even now, the more we submit to Jesus, the greater will be the leadership authority we exercise. This is one of many great paradoxes of the Christian faith: see Matthew 8:9).

So, as yet, we do not see humans ruling as originally intended, but ”What we do see is Jesus…”, succeeding where man failed.

‘Ponder these verses: ”We wish to see Jesus” (John 12:21), ”We see Jesus” (Heb.2:9), and ”We shall see Him (Jesus)” (1 John 3:2). The first is the plea of the sinner; the second is the privilege of the saint; the third is the promise of the Scripture.” Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’, p.813.

PRAYER: Lord, day by day may we see you more clearly, love you more dearly, follow you more nearly. I also pray for…that he/she/they may come to see, love and follow you.

Hebrews 2:5-7: Little people

It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified:

‘What is mankind that you are mindful of them,

    a son of man that you care for him?

7 You made them a little lower than the angels;

    you crowned them with glory and honour

8     and put everything under their feet.’

Jilly and I are enjoying a book by Tyler Staton: ‘Praying like monks, living like fools.’ In one of the early chapters he writes about how stillness and silence help us to recognise our smallness before an infinite God. In a telling paragraph he says:

‘I spent twelve years in New York City. I grieved the loss of the stars, but I relished the view of the skyline. My favourite view of the Manhattan skyline was always the angle from Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. I was always strangely comforted when I looked across all those tombstones at the city spires behind them. Every one of those stones represents someone who was living fast, making plans, and dodging every obstacle in the way of their preferred future. In other words, someone with a will who did their best to bring their will to bear on the present moment. Now they’re a memory and the city is filled with new people living even faster and making more plans’ (pp.44,45).

It is good for us to be aware of how small and fragile and temporary we actually are.

But although we are little people we are deeply loved by God. The measure of His love, as we will see, is that He lowered Himself to rescue us.

Warren Wiersbe, writing about Psalm 8 – which is quoted in Hebrews 2 – says:

‘The universe is vast and full of grandeur, so why should God pay any attention to weak and insignificant men and women? But He does!’ (‘With the Word’, p.312).

Prayer: Lord I thank you that your eye is on the sparrow; that ‘Thou Lord seest me’.

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