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Hebrews 4a – Tidbits from the Text

In today’s sermon, I cut out a few minor points, none of which significantly contributed to the overall picture that the Preacher of Hebrews makes in this chapter.  All details of each text of Scripture are important, but this doesn’t mean that each detail is equally important in a sermon.  If a preacher preached all the thing he could preach in a given text, he’d likely never get past a single chapter of Scripture!

Here are a few odds and ends that were cut from two verses of my sermon in Hebrews 4:1-13:

Verse 8 – “For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on” (all Scripture in ESV).

Two fun facts about this verse: first, the word “Joshua” is identical to the word “Jesus” in Greek.  Only context can tell us whether we are speaking about the historical Joshua who succeeded Moses, another Joshua, or Jesus Himself.  The Preacher might be using a little wordplay here in verse 8 where he uses the name “Joshua,” primarily referring to the historical figure from the OT, but on a secondary level alluding to Jesus, the ultimately provider of our rest.

Second, the word “spoken” is a Greek imperfect, which indicates a past continuous action.  God continuously spoke to the Israelites through Psalm 95 (which is what this verse alludes to with the reference to “today”).  When God speaks through His word, it isn’t just a one-time deal, but His word indeed is living and active and continues to pierce our thoughts and heart even today!

Verse 13 – “There is no creature hidden from his sight”

First, notice how the Preacher says, “no creature,” not “no human.”  By using the word “creature,” he purposefully broadens the scope of the statement.  Not the smallest mouse, not the tiniest bug, not the most microscopic mite is hidden from God!

Second, notice the tight connection between the word of God and God Himself.  Verse 12 is all about the word of God.  “The word of God is living and active,” etc.  Then, without skipping a beat, verse 13 jumps right to, “And no creature is hidden from his sight.”  Whose sight?  God’s sight!  Since when were we talking about God?  We were always talking about God when we talk about His word!  What the word of God reveals, God sees, since the word is the word of God.

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