In Isaiah 7, the prophet went to great lengths to invite King Ahaz to trust God’s promises.
Ahaz’s unwillingness to trust revealed a universal principle. Self-sufficient and self-serving people will rely on anything but God. The false gods we trust will harm us in the end.
The author of Hebrews wants his readers to fully rely on God’s promises. He uses Abraham as an example for all of God’s promises.
When God made a promise to Abraham, because he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and multiply you” (Hebrews 6.13-14).
Unlike King Ahaz in Isaiah’s day, Abraham fully relied on God’s promises to the extent of being willing to sacrifice his son.
As a result, God told Abraham, “By myself I have sworn, says the Lord: Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son,
“I will indeed bless you, and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of their enemies” (Genesis 22:16-17).
The promise of a son took nearly a lifetime to be fulfilled. Hebrews describes Abraham’s faith.
“And thus Abraham, having patiently endured, obtained the promise” (Hebrews 6.15).
Abraham continued in obedience while waiting a long time for God’s promise to actualize.
Rather than taking matters into our own hands like King Ahaz, we are called to trust God’s promises even when they appear to be a long way off.
I’m telling the truth.
There are many ways in which humans attempt to buttress their words with more words.
In a world where “lies run around the world faster than the truth can lace up its shoes” (Mark Twain), people use oaths to declare the veracity of their statements.
Hebrews acknowledged this kind of behavior and explained how God differs from humans.
Humans, of course, swear by someone greater than themselves, and an oath given as confirmation puts an end to all dispute among them (Hebrews 6.16).
Humans certify their integrity by appealing to someone with greater integrity. God uses an oath to underscore his promises to us.
In the same way, when God desired to show even more clearly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it by an oath (Hebrews 6.17).
No one should question God’s character, especially in the light of the crucifixion and resurrection.
Nevertheless, he condescends to use an oath to make his point. God desires that we know the reality of his promise.
God’s great love and grace are deserving of a positive response from us. Hebrews continues with God’s character and the desired response.
“So that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible that God would prove false, we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to seize the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6.18).
Unlike humans, it is impossible for God to lie. Since he is so gracious and truthful, the wisest response is to seize the hope of his promise.
Like Abraham, and unlike King Ahaz, we fully rely on God’s promise and enter into a personal relationship with God.
We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain,
There Jesus, a forerunner on our behalf, has entered, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 6.19-20).
Rudy Ross and I talk about Hebrews today on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.
I am indebted to Gareth Lee Cockerill’s commentary on Hebrews for the information contained in this blog.
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