Brothers and sisters, I urge you to bear with my word of exhortation. Hebrews 13:22
It’s the end of Hebrews ~ and it bears the author’s last words. This book is far from being lightweight in content. The hard times for Jewish believers called for weightiness but with strong encouragement comes the risk of offense.
Though we’re not told who the author is of the book of Hebrews, he calls his writing ‘an exhortation.’ In just this last chapter, there are many ‘exhortations’ that could easily offend.
- Submit to your leaders.
- Continually offer up praises to God.
- Take the time to do good to others.
- Imitate the life of your leaders.
- Don’t be carried away by strange teachings.
With each, it’s easy to bristle.
- Have you seen who my leader is? I should submit to the likes of him?
- You haven’t seen my life lately. You are asking me to praise now?
- Like I haven’t already done good to others?!
- What’s wrong with the way I am living?
- I’m far more stable than that! How little do you respect me?!
An exhorter often has a tough time in the family of God. Their Spirit-empowered gift enables them to perceive spiritual immaturity. This person is driven to point out opportunities for spiritual growth. Trials are met with encouragements rather than words of compassion. Exhorters see conversations as opportunities to give spiritual help, to offer biblical perspectives on things, but with such compulsions, there can be a lot of resistance. Rejection is continually a threat for this servant of God.
The whole book is a mouthful. While it is beautiful in its exposition of Christ as the supreme One, it is not a book we encourage a new believer to read. I recall New Year’s Eve – 1 year ago – when I felt God was leading me to teach this book through these daily writings. I trembled with the responsibility. I am no seminarian. Yet here we are.
Thank you, God, for leading me. Thank you, Jesus, for invading history as my perfect High Priest. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for faithfully unveiling these scriptures so that my pen could engage with the paper. To You be all glory. Amen
And thank you, my dear devotional friends, for the privilege of sharing this last year’s journey with you. May His Word always tremble with wonder in our hands.