In studying in the Book of Hebrews the last few days it has been striking how many times the writer pleads with those of us who read the book to “draw close to God.” He from beginning to end of the book points out how much better the way of Jesus Christ is as compared with living under the Old Covenant. Christ is better than angels, better than Moses, his priesthood is better than Aaron’s, his covenant is greater than the one given to Moses, his kingdom is an unshakable kingdom and we are blessed to be able to keep receiving his kingdom.
Two huge things shine out in this book that hit home to me. One is that our greatest challenges aren’t with committing horrible acts of sin but in neglecting the things that really matter. After telling how God now speaks to us through his son whom he has appointed heir of all things and by whom he made the worlds, the writer said, “Therefore we ought to give even closer attention to the things we have heard to make certain we don’t drift away from it. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast and every transgression and disobedience received its righteous reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation which was first spoken to us by our Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard him.” (Hebrews 2:1-3)
It is certainly true that some will turn away from God’s word and will reject it as truth even railing against all that the word of God says. But that isn’t the greatest danger. The greatest danger is of those who believe the Bible and trust in God drifting, neglecting the teachings and slipping slowly away from God. If you’ve ever done any fishing or boating especially on a river or running water, you know how quickly one can drift a long way without even realizing that you have moved. Spiritually it is the same way. We may think we are still in the same place with God we were a year ago. But the reality is if I’m not moving closer to the Lord then I’m drifting away from him. One day I’ll wake up to realize I’ve slipped so far away that he is no longer in my life at all.
The other thing that stands out so much in this book is that God has removed the barriers so we can come close to him now. Under the Old Covenant with the tabernacle and its huge curtain between the holy place and the Most Holy Place, the message was clear that God was distant from them. Only the high priest could enter into the Most Holy Place where God’s presence was. He could only go in one time a year on the day of Atonement. When Jesus was crucified for the sins of the whole world, the veil between the two was torn apart from the top to the bottom. Jesus opened the way to the Father through his own blood.
“Since we have a great high priest who has past through the heavens, Jesus Christ the righteous, let us hold tightly to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who can’t be touched with the feelings of our weakness but one who was tempted in all ways as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16)
The word used in this text to say we should come “boldly” to the throne of God was a word used in Rome to indicate that all Romans citizens could speak freely to one another. God is telling us that he wants us to come to him and speak freely whatever the problems or concerns that we face.
Later he will say, “Let us draw near with a true heart and in full assurance of our faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Instead of God holding us at arms length he longs for us to come near and have an intimate relationship with him.
As a grandparent I know that one thing you want from your grandchildren is for them to come close, to snuggle up to you and want to share their thoughts and dreams with you. God wants those close ties with his people. One of the prime reasons for making man in God’s image and likeness was for God to have a community relationship with his people.
It is our choice whether we will take things easy and drift along in our relationship with God, slowly moving away from him all the time. Or we can diligently draw close to him and speak freely to him knowing he cares for us.
Don’t be a drifter. Draw close and snuggle up with God.