ANCHORED AND ALIGNED

Anchored in His Person and Presence

97A5C05A-11D1-448F-B1B8-DCBB10A84FAB_1_201_a“For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 6:13–20, NKJV)

The author who crafted these words did so to remind his contemporaries that their hope is eternally anchored. His concern was that they might feel that all is hopeless in their present circumstance. The original recipients of this text were Jewish believers in the first-century church. They were experiencing intense persecution from their family and friends who still clung to their orthodox Judaism. As a result, some Hebrew believers were drifting away from their faith. The author reminds these vulnerable members of the Body of Christ that two immutable realities anchor their hope:

The Immutability of God’s Personal Character

God confirmed their hope by an oath.

God cannot lie.

God keeps His promises.

God fulfilled His promise to Abraham.

Later in his letter, the author of Hebrews affirms this character trait in Jesus Christ, the son of God:

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” 

(Hebrews 13:8, NKJV)

The Immutability of God’s Presence

Jesus anchored our hope behind the veil, in the holy of holies. Jesus anchored the anchor!! Sometimes Jesus is referred to as the anchor. There is truth in that insight. The word picture in this text presents a much stronger image. Jesus is more than the anchor of Christian hope. He is the one who anchors our hope in the immutable Presence of God.

Disciples of Jesus enjoy a hope that anchors the soul. The Old Testament tabernacle and temple provide the image for the author’s teaching. The room behind the veil was called the Holy of Holies. In this place, God manifested His Presence during the Old Covenant era. The Ark of the Covenant, aka The Mercy Seat, furnished this holiest place. An image in motion comes to mind when I read, “the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” I picture Jesus passing through the veil and carrying our hope-anchor into the very heart of God’s Person and Presence. He eternally anchors our hope to the Mercy Seat behind the veil!

The hymn writer Edward Mote captured this understanding in one of his compositions.

8C7DED6E-7B23-4ECC-96D4-BB354717695D_1_201_a“My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

 But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

When darkness veils His lovely face,

I rest on His unchanging grace;

In every high and stormy gale,

My anchor holds within the veil.”

Later in his letter, the author of Hebrews affirms the immutability of God’s Presence in the person of Jesus Christ, the son of God:

“For He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

(Hebrews 13:5, NKJV)

These are incredibly stormy times both in the spiritual realm and in the natural realm. The winds of such issues as climate change, racism, political extremism, and the pandemic have reached hurricane velocity. Those of us aspiring to commune face to face with the Person of God and experientially enter His Presence must contend with these gale-force headwinds. These winds intend to forcefully blow us in the direction of entanglement with such contemporary controversies. It’s not that we ignore these issues. However, it is too easy to stray from the Kingdom priority by becoming overly entangled and viscerally attached to such matters.

In the natural, the posture for walking contrary to the prevailing wind is to put one’s head down. In the Spirit, the proper posture for walking contrary to these prevailing winds is to put our head up!

FDE31793-6040-4ED6-A3EF-65E53DCB885A_4_5005_c

In this day, we need to be vigilant, lifting our heads, and persevering until we are behind the veil where Jesus anchored our hope to the Person and Presence of God.

5BC29CF0-5004-4613-9DF9-C8F9743C9572_4_5005_c

The author of Hebrew later adds:

Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,” (Hebrews 8:1, NASB95)

Discerning His Presence

“But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:14, NKJV)

The ultimate experience of good is God’s Presence. Learning to sense His Presence both spiritually and physically prevents us from drifting from our faith. A lifestyle of worship enhances our ability to feel His Presence.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeRQOrtBPBU

Aligned with His Spirit

“A Song of Ascents. 

I lift up my eyes to the hills. 

From where does my help come? 

My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. 

He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 

The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. 

The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. 

The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. 

The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in 

  from this time forth and forevermore.”

(Psalm 121, ESV)

This Psalm is one of the fifteen Psalms known as a Song of Ascents (Psalms 120 -134). The people of Israel would sing these songs as they made their way to the temple in Jerusalem to worship. Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year in Judaism. Its central themes are repentance and atonement. It was a national day of spiritual realignment for the nation and its citizens.

“Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? 

Or who may stand in His holy place? 

He who has clean hands and a pure heart, 

Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, 

Nor sworn deceitfully. 

He shall receive blessing from the Lord, 

And righteousness from the God of his salvation. 

This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, 

Who seek Your face. Selah 

Lift up your heads, O you gates! 

And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! 

And the King of glory shall come in. 

Who is this King of glory? 

The Lord strong and mighty, 

The Lord mighty in battle. 

Lift up your heads, O you gates! 

Lift up, you everlasting doors! 

And the King of glory shall come in. 

Who is this King of glory? 

The Lord of hosts, 

He is the King of glory. Selah”

(Psalm 24:3–10, NKJV)

F5D0DB73-B51E-4A26-8396-9B283FD11813_4_5005_cWeather permitting, I enjoyed walking our neighborhoods in Lakeview. Walking provided beneficial exercise, both physical and spiritual. I could incorporate prayers and prophetic declarations (aka preaching) on these outings. On occasion, the Holy Spirit would provide some practical physical and spiritual coaching. One day, the Spirit prompted me to look up and view the cross beams on the electric poles on my route. As I did, I became aware that I tended to walk with my head down, looking at the path before me. Looking down was a reasonable practice. I did not want to risk stumbling over an unseen obstacle. I began to notice a physical improvement as I practiced walking head-up. My neck and spine felt more aligned. This alignment provided an added measure of comfort in my stride.

Just as proper spine alignment is beneficial to our physical health, appropriate spirit, soul, and body alignment are advantageous to our overall health. In each reference above, the word for “hill” is the same Hebrew word, “har.” The primary physical focus for worship at that time was the hill known as Mt. Zion, the location for the temple.

The lifting of our spiritual nature’s head toward the Person and Presence of God aligns us properly. Giving preeminence to our soul nature’s head leads to narcissism. Assigning supremacy to our physical nature’s head leads to hedonism.

For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

(Hebrews 7:19, NLT)


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