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©2014 Susan Cady, susancady.com
In this world you will have trouble…ain’t that the truth! But it’s a reality we like to try to avoid, deny or mask. How do we find peace for our troubled and fearful hearts in a world of trouble? Take heart!
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. —John 16:33
take heart – tharseo (G2293) – to have courage; to be of good courage; boldness. From the root word, tarsus (G2294) meaning cheerful mind; courage, confidence. See also tharrheo (G2292) (another form of word) meaning to exercise courage, be confident, be full of hope and confidence.
We’ve been talking in this series about our “gap moments” . How there is a moment of time, a gap, when we are faced with a difficult or fearful situation where we have a moment to choose our response or to simply react, letting our emotions have full vent. This week in class, we looked at three women who all faced unknown, uncertain and fearful situations and futures. What can learn from their stories about “taking heart” —being courageous, confident and full of hope in the midst of fear, uncertainty and the unknown?…continue reading
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Last week, I shared some thoughts on the last half of Hebrews 4:16. Nothing like looking at a verse in reverse! But I needed the encouragement Hebrews 4:16 offered at the end, a lesson in frapping! So today, let’s jump back to the beginning of this verse.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace…
To begin, we need to be reminded of original audience for whom this letter was written and intended —believers who were in a time of trial, who were discouraged and whose faith was wavering. Most of whom are understood to be Jewish believers who were tempted, because of the trials and persecution, to return to Judaism. Therefore, the author of Hebrews uses many references to the Old Covenant ways for approaching God and as a means to relationship with Him.
In the Old Testament, God established through Moses the law and the tabernacle as the means to a relationship with Him and to provide for the forgiveness of sins. You can read about the tabernacle, its construction, components and God’s requirements in Exodus 25-30 and specifically about the Most Holy Place, the ark of the covenant in Exodus 25:10-22. Daily the priests ministered in the tabernacle performing various duties but once a year, and only once, the high priest would enter the tabernacle, behind the veil, to the Most Holy Place where God’s presence dwelt on the altar. This was the throne room. The high priest entered once a year to make atonement for his sins and the sins of the people. There was no direct fellowship or relationship with God for the people. And for the people during the time of the writing of this letter, they could have easily travelled to Jerusalem and seen the temple and the priests ministering at the altar. But throughout the book of Hebrews, the author has been emphasizing that Jesus is superior! Jesus is better! He is superior to all the old ways.
With this in mind, the writer of Hebrews states in 4:14 that Jesus is the Great High Priest. He has entered once for all, to cover all sin. The veil has been removed and we may now freely enter God’s presence and find mercy for the forgiveness of sin and grace—His undeserved favor to help us at any time, for any reason, always! And Jesus, our Great High Priest is one who can sympathize with our weaknesses. Sympthathize— to enter into one’s experience and feel their heartache. Jesus is able to sympathize because He became flesh and dwelt among us. Fully God and yet fully man who experienced the weakness of the flesh and was tempted, YET did not sin. Jesus is the superior High Priest because no other priest had ever been able to make this claim. This was (and still is) life-changing news!
So we might be tempted to ask, why? Why on earth would they want to go back? Back to the old ways, with its rituals, requirements and limitations? I believe fear and unbelief are two of the greatest reasons.
It makes sense in my own life. When I’m pressed hard, in a difficult situation or relationship, I am tempted to run to what is comfortable and known. Even if that thing is not what is best. I am tempted to try to work it out in my own confidence, in my flesh, in my own strength. Never ends well!
SO! The writer of Hebrews encourages them (and us):
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace…
Let’s break it down and look at some of the words in the original language in which they were written:
let us then – oun (Greek) – there, consequently, these things being so.
What being so? Hebrews 4:14 tells us we have great high priest who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses, on who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Because we have Jesus! let us…
confidence – parrēsía (Greek) – free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance. Parrēsía is possible as the result of guilt having been removed by the blood of Jesus and manifests itself in confident praying and witnessing.
draw near – proserchomai (Greek) – to approach, come near, draw near to
throne of grace – thronos charis (Greek) – the throne seat, a stately seat of power and grace being good will, lovingkindness, favor. Figuratively or spiritually grace is the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life.
We can come boldly, without fear, with freedom, and a cheerful courage to the throne of grace. The place where Jesus sits at the right of the Father living to make intercession for us and help us in our time of need. We can pour out our hearts to Him. We can ask for mercy and grace to help when tempted to sin. We can ask for mercy and grace when the waves of life are washing over us. But we must enter with confidence — free from fear and unbelief. So when you are in need, step boldly, step confidently, step courageously to the throne of grace and find grace and mercy to help in your time of need. Remember last week? That help is described in the word picture of frapping. Frapping for your flailing vessel. Frapping —that strengthening and securing of a vessel when it is threatened to capsize or drift away. And His help is always available to us — any time and in any place.
Step freely and fearlessly into the throne room!
©2013 Susan Cady, susancady.com