Lamentations 2:20-3:66, Hebrews 1:1-14, Psalms 102:1-28, Proverbs 26:21-22
Today is the 30th day of October. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian. It’s great to be here with you today just like it’s a joy to be here with you every single day that we gather to take the next step forward as we continue the journey that is the Bible in a year. So, yesterday we began the book of Lamentations and we talked about that and it’s context and then we also read the letter to Philemon. Which means that we’ll continue our journey through Lamentations today, but when we get to the New Testament, we will be at a new threshold and that is known as the book of Hebrews. And we’ll talk about that when we get there. But first, we’re reading from the New Living Translation this week. Lamentations 3:1-66.
Introduction to the book of Hebrews:
Okay. So, we are about to begin the book of Hebrews, which is actually a letter. And is one of the most compelling exhortations to keep the faith and stay true and endure that we’ll find in the whole New Testament. And while that’s true, Hebrews the letter is a bit of an anomaly because we don’t fully know it’s origins. I mean, the apostle Paul’s been credited with authorship at different points in history, but most biblical scholars would agree - and this is a long-running thing -that this is very unlikely. Whoever did write Hebrews was a master communicator and was obviously clearly well -educate d. They, for sure, possessed a skilled understanding of the Torah and of the Jewish religion, Judaism. And so two candidates that would fit that criteria would be Barnabus and Apollos. But no one is certain and there’s all kinds of theories. But what is certain is that the author of the letter to the Hebrews had the authority to write such a work and that the work was regarded with the utmost respect, obviously, because it was preserved, and we now have it in the New Testament. Paul’s protege and son in the faith, Timothy, (and, of course, we just recently read the two personal letters from the Apostle Paul to Timothy) -Timothy’s mentioned in the letter to the Hebrews, so Hebrews is probably reasonably contemporary with Paul’s writings or maybe just a little bit later. And it’s clear in the discussion in the letter itself that persecution of those who believed in Jesus had begun within the Jewish community. And that brings up an important distinction. Hebrews was written to Hebrews. So, to Jewish people. Whereas Paul’s ministry’s largely to a Gentile audience, even though he was a Pharisee and very well knew Judaism and could definitely hold debate and discourse about Judaism. But anyway, even though persecution had begun in the Jewish community it hadn’t reached the level of martyrdom in most cases. The Jewish believers and those who were sympathetic to those who believed in Jesus, these people had begun to be marginalized and suffer, like, verbal abuse and ridicule. And in the process were being stereotyped as irrelevant and weird and it’s easy enough to see this in the modern culture. Like if you’re around media, often if a Christian is portrayed in the media, they’re kind of weird, backward, irrelevant, right? A little off. And so that’s kind of what was going on here. And these cultural pressures were causing a lot of Hebrew believers to just kind of back off, just withdraw into the woodwork and disappear into the culture and hide their faith in Jesus. While others were just turning their backs and walking away altogether and just going back into traditional Judaism. So, the writer of Hebrews saw this happening and then stepped into that breach and encouraged the Hebrew believers to stay faithful to Jesus and not to go back to their former ways. And Hebrews encourages us in the same way, to hold fast to the hope that we have in Christ without wavering, without walking away, without disappearing into the woodwork. And it’s a very important message for all of us, even today. And it’s given brilliantly through the lens of the Old Testament and the Jewish heritage. And again, even though I just mentioned that, that is so important to understand in Hebrews. If we could just remember this little thing: Hebrews was written to Hebrews. It’ll help us a lot because we’re looking through the gospel, but we’re looking at the gospel of Jesus through the lens of Hebrew culture and religion, so of Jewish culture and religion. So, with that, we begin. Hebrews chapter 1.
Father, we thank You for Your word and we thank You for the counsel of it, the comfort of it, the rebuke of it, the way that it is capable of touching just about everything in our lives. And we welcome that guidance, we need that guidance and that’s one of the reasons that we show up here every day to allow Your word to speak to us and we thank You for that. And as we begin the book of Hebrews, Father, we ask that You give us an attentive heart and a mind for understanding and an open heart as we see why it is that we believe the things that we do. Come, Holy Spirit, we pray. Plant the words deep into our lives, yielding the fruit of the Spirit within us, we pray. In Jesus name we ask. Amen.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.