(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Here, in the first two verses of Hebrews chapter 12, are two more servings of Hebrew ‘Let Us’:
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and fin- isher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
These two servings are predicated by what has been written before, especially in chapter 11, commonly known as “the Hall of Faith”! The author of Hebrews…
- …first describes what faith is in verse 1 – “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith makes real what cannot be apprehended by our five physical senses!
- …then, in verse 6, tells us what faith in action must begin to look like! – “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
Starting in verse 4 and 5 and continuing in verse 7 through the end of the chapter are the brief records of Old Testament heros who lived by faith! Nineteen individuals are either named or implied, and in verses 32 through 40, many more unnamed saints are alluded to!
These are the “…great cloud of witnesses…we are surrounded by…”! Not that they are sitting in heaven on the edge of clouds, watching our every move. They are not – and that is comforting to me, especially when I mess up! I don’t want my mother watching me when I blow it, and sin against God and/or man! But they are “…a great cloud of witnesses…” in that they have gone on before, and have shown us examples of how children of the Father should be living!
In light of this:
- “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily en-snares us….” And, wow! the things of this world can sure weigh us down as we try to live out the Christian life.
✞ I was called to give morning devotions to the students in a small Christian school. I told them two students would have a short race (about 25 feet, since it was indoors). I chose a tall athletic-looking eighth grad- er as one contestant. The other was a fifth grader, much shorter and quite un-athletic. I then asked the other students whom they thought would win. “The big guy!” was the consensus! So I began the “Ready, Set, Go” only to stop at “Set.” Then I went to an outside door, opened it, and brought in a full-size cement block! After handing it to the eighth grader, I asked again whom the other students thought would now win. The consensus sure did change...as did the outcome of the race! The fifth grader handily won! Of course the point was that which is pointed out in Hebrews 12:1, “...let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us....” Then “...let us run...”! ✞ What is the best way to “...lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us...”? We often can’t (or in refusing to, won’t) see sin in our lives! So, turning to Psalm 139:23 and 24, pray these verses sincerely to God: Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlast- ing. As it says in Proverbs 28:13, “He who covers his sins shall not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”
Then you are ready to run the Christian race!
- “…and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us….” This is important, because it is not a hundred meter dash. It is more like a marathon, which is 26.2 miles. You have to pace yourself! And what is the best way to pace yourself? I vote for Isaiah 40:28 through 31:
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The ever- lasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His under- standing is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
Let the Lord God set the pace for your Christian life!
- There is a third ‘Let Us’ here in verse 2, but it is implied: “…let us…[be] looking unto Jesus….”
✞ He is “…the author and finisher of our faith….” Or, as He said of Himself in Revelation 1:17, “I am the First and the Last…” of everything, including our faith!
★ As Jesus said in John 15:5, “...for without Me you can do nothing...” of importance to God! ★ But the flip side is what Paul wrote in Phi- lippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” ✞ Keep your eyes on Him throughout the race!
One more thing to think about from Hebrews 12:2: Jesus “…endured the cross, despising the shame…[because of] the joy that was set before Him….” What was that joy that was set before Him? It was you and me, reconciled to God by His sacrifice, and successfully running the race (living out) the Christian life before us!
So in Him, focus, run, and win!