Monday, November 19, 2012

Hebrews 13

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Sacrifices Pleasing to God (v. 1-19)

Show hospitality to strangers, remember those who are in prison and those who are mistreated

A pretty good start to this chapter. But then we hit verse 4

"Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous."

My first pass I focused on the adultery part of this, and figured "don't cheat on your spouse", which is good. On the second look, I focused a little more on 'sexual immoral', what exactly does that mean? I'm guessing that refers to a bunch of stuff that I don't personally have a problem with, and that I would actually consider a bad thing for society. For instance, it is probably talking about homosexuality, which is the vilification of a huge group of people for something they were born with. Also, 'let the marriage bed be undefiled', my first thought was that this went along with not cheating, but I bet it is really saying you should be a virgin on your wedding night. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a huge fan of people sleeping around all the time (among other things it is dangerous emotionally) but this is an unnecessary extreme. For one thing it encourages people to marry young. 

verse 5 is about being content with what you have.

Generally this is good advice, although as with not being greedy, a little bit is okay. Being content with what you have is a good thing, but wanting more is also something that can motivate you to work hard, and depending on what you work on, this could be good for you, and for society as a whole. Even with that caveat, this is good.

The Jews sacrifice animals, but we have our own altar. Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross, we should continually offer up a sacrifice of praise which is pleasing to God.

I couldn't quite figure this out on my own, so I went against my normal procedure and read Guzik's take on this before I wrote up my thoughts. He suggests that the Jewish Christians at the time were probably looked down upon by the other Jews, and this is an attempt to say they have their own altar (the cross) and they can do their own sacrifices(v10). This take seems to make sense to me given the reading. The whole thing seems very defensive to me.

v17 "Obey your leaders and submit to them..."

I guess I need to state the obvious here, blind obedience is dangerous. The idea that just because someone is a church leader means they are worthy of obedience is exactly the kind of thing that has lead to all of the current catholic church scandals involving child molestation. 

Now this is interesting, Guzik say that church leaders have a right to tell us "how to live and walk after God." But also that this idea shouldn't be taken too far. He then quotes Chuck Smith who says "A teacher should teach us to submit to God, not to himself." This is a great perspective.

Benediction (v. 20-21)

May God equip you with what you need to do his will.

This seems to be a fairly shallow prayer to me. We are praying that God gives us the tools to please him. I understand praying that God give us what we need to please ourselves, but shouldn't God automatically give us what we need to please him? Just seems a bit silly to me.

Final Greetings (v. 22-25)

Basically just a sign off.

For the overview post (If you think I should add or remove stuff from this list please let me know, I think it would make good conversation)


13:2 Show hospitality even to strangers

"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

13:3 Be compassionate 

"Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body."

13:5 Be content with what you have

"Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'"


13:4 No sex before marriage, no 'sexual immorality'

"Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous."

13:17 Obey all church leaders

" Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls..."

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