Hebrews 13: 5 - 6
You’ll Never Walk Alone
My wife and I went off to Spain to work with a missionary group in 1990. We had worked overseas before in Africa - each time in paid government employment but in a missionary context. On one of the occasions we knew that we wouldn’t have enough to live on as a family when we set out, but we trusted that God would supply our needs, and He did. Really, we were going ‘without any visible means of support’. We were living ‘by faith’, which I think by the way is a silly term, as Galatians 2: 20 makes it plain that we all live by faith - not ours but God’s, and what matters more is that God is always faithful to us.
As we set off for Spain it was really quite scary. As we prayed about it, God gave us the verse quoted above (v5), and told us to put our names into it. Three times in this verse, God personally told us that He could be trusted not to let us down. It’s easy to look back through the ‘retrospectoscope’ and say ‘hallelujah’! He did it! But at the time we went sustained only by that sure and certain hope that He would keep His word, and He did. It’s a lesson we have had to learn and relearn on many occasions during our lives.
When Jesus sent His disciples out into all the world, He promised that He would go with them and stay with them - even to the end of the age (Matthew 28: 20). Paul reminds us that nothing in all the world can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8: 38 - 39). Hang on to these words today if you are feeling lonely. I can truly testify to the fact that God never changes (verse 8 of the text). He is true to His word and He will be true to you as you seek to serve Him.
In the rest of the chapter, the writer exhorts us to get on with living the Christian life: loving one another, being hospitable, remembering those in need and doing something about it, keeping our lives free of immorality and the love of money, sticking to the truth of God’s word, and doing good to one another. We are also called to honour, imitate and obey our leaders and to pray for them, and to do all this with a spirit of praise on our lips (verse 15). That’s a tall order you might say!
If it all seems too difficult, if not impossible, then the writer prays a beautiful prayer for us in the midst of which he reminds us that God has equipped us ‘with everything good for doing his will’ (vs20, 21).
Prayer and Action
Read again the prayer of Paul in Ephesians 3: 14 - 21 and make it your own.
If you are feeling down and wondering how you will make it through the day, realise that you’re not alone. Read again about Moses’ tussle with God in Exodus 3 and 4, and about Gideon in Judges 6 and Elijah in I Kings 19, and take heart. Even heroes of the faith have tough times, and Jesus understands (Hebrews 4: 14 - 16). Think and pray out of these verses.