Despite all the good and hopeful truths in the book of Hebrews, there is also a series of warnings that reach their climax in chapters 10-12. These sections have at least two common elements. First, they all compare the desert generation with the readers of Hebrews. Second, they exhort us to have faith.
The desert generation was the one that saw the amazing power of God unleashed in signs and wonders in their deliverance from Egypt. They also heard God speak, from Mount Sinai, the Ten Commandments. They saw the column of fire in the night and the protecting cloud during the day. They ate manna, bread from heaven. They also drank water that sprang from the rocks wherever they camped. But when they arrived at the border of the Promised Land, they were not able to trust God. They lacked faith, which is the core of what God requires. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6, NKJV).
Paul says that we, like the desert generation, are also at the border of the Promised Land (Hebrews 10:37-39). Our privileges and responsibilities are greater, however. We did not hear God speak at Mount Sinai, but we have seen through Scripture a revelation of God greater than the one at Mount Zion: God in the flesh, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:18-24). The question is: Will we have faith? The author encourages us to follow the example of a great list of characters, which culminates with Jesus Himself.
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