Focal Passage: Hebrews 12:18-24
I love going to the mountains. One reason I love to go is because I love to fly fish. I love trying to pull an unsuspecting, hungry trout out from behind a rock or a log in those beautiful mountain streams. Another reason I love to go to the mountains is they remind me of the beauty, majesty and glory of God. The size and beauty of the mountains pales in comparison to the beauty of the God who made them. In this week’s lesson passage we see the tale of two mountains and the one true God.
One mountain, Mount Sinai, is described in ominous detail as the writer recounts the giving of the law of God to Israel. The demonstration of holiness, power and might there wrought terror in the hearts of the people – they wanted to stay away from the mountain, and they also wanted God to speak to someone else for them. Their separation from the mountain reminded them of their separation from the presence of God. The law also called for an annual reminder of their failure to live up to the standard of God’s law and the necessity of the shedding of blood as the punishment for their sin.
By great contrast, Mount Zion – the place where God’s presence dwelled – was not a place of terror, but great joy and peace. Rather than experiencing separation from God, they could now experience fellowship with God and others because Christ perfectly kept the law and then gave His blood as the payment for their inability to do so. Where the blood of Abel cried out to confront sinful Cain, Jesus’ blood spoke announcing grace and forgiveness to those who would repent.
This not a tale of two gods: one who is holy and just, and another who is gracious and merciful. It is the story of the one true God who met for us the just demands of His own holiness through the perfect blood of His own Son. As a result, we must not take lightly the grace of God, living however we please, but rather walking in loving surrender before the holy and righteous God who brought us to Himself and into community with His people.