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Devotional - week of January 25, 2009


WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT

…we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses Hebrews 12:1

Hebrews was written to Jewish believers who were wavering in their faith. They had become discouraged because of persecution. Hebrews 11 lists a number of Jews of Old Testament days who experienced God through faith. Hebrews 12:1 states that the faith of those listed in chapter 11 is a witness to the reader to continue in faith. The passage is a message of encouragement to all who have their moments of wavering in their faith.

The first person of faith mentioned in chapter 11 is Abel. The passage says, “…he being dead still speaks.” This can be said about every person of faith mentioned in this chapter. Their experiences of faith speak to all discouraged believers.

Hebrews 10:19-22 is an encouragement to the discouraged.

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith …
 

The thought of experiencing life near to God is continued in Hebrews 12:22-24. It reads:

… you have come to … the general assembly and church of the firstborn …to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

Notice “just men made perfect” are there near to God with us in the Most Holy Place. This includes those of faith mentioned in Hebrews 11. We are with them in the spiritual Most Holy Place. The realization of our being in the same spiritual atmosphere with them is a reminder of their faith which speaks to our discouragement in a new way.

When we return to faith, we return to grace.