Today is our last day Hebrews. The letter ends with several verses where you can feel both the deep concern and the tension. The author, whom I believe is Paul is fearing his letter will be rejected and those whom he is writing to will cut him and Christ out of their lives and go back to a Christless, hopeless, shell of religion. A religion that has no connection to God but will reunite them with friends and family and the popular culture of the day.
Let me start by pointing out two universal realities. Few like being an outsider and few like being corrected. Here Paul is both correcting his listeners and encouraging them to remain outsiders.
I can tell you that as a pastor and a leader I hate correcting people. I do it when I must for one reason only - Love. "Those God loves He rebukes and corrects". It was God who lead the Israelites away from their comfortable, predictable life in Egypt. You will notice I didn't say a good life, I said a comfortable life. Can a less than good life be a comfortable one?
There is a reason. We were not created for discomfort or for being outsiders or even for being corrected. We resist these things because they are not pleasant and we were not meant to experience them.
Have you ever been travelling and found yourself lost? It is an uncomfortable feeling. The solution is to figure out where you are and then figure out where you need to be and then map a route that will get you back on track. When you arrive there is a sense of relief. A sense of comfort being back on track.
Guess what though? The route you took to get you from the place where you realized you were lost to the path you were supposed to be on was never part of your journey. It involved roads and turns you were never supposed to see. They only became a necessary part of your trip after you got off track. It was uncomfortable but necessary. It would have been far worse to stay where you were.
My point is this: the ideals of belonging and being comfortable are not evil. They just aren't possible yet. To seek them now will keep you lost and lead to a Christless end.
Let me be frank not for my sake but for the sake of anyone reading this who may be seeking comfort over Christ and didn't realize it.
There are entire churches that talk about Jesus that have chosen comfort over Him. You may need to leave that church and it will hurt.
There may be people in your life that provide you a level of comfort who are keeping you from Christ. You may need to distance yourself from them and it will hurt.
There may be desires inside you that are so strong that you feel to give them up or starve them or deny them is a betrayal of who you are as a person.
It is your right to remain in Egypt if you wish but would you really prefer anything over Christ? It will be painful to move but it was God who lead them out. Remember that. It was God who brought them to places where it felt like going forward would lead to death. To be lead by One who truly loves you will be uncomfortable, very uncomfortable but to get back on track and ultimately Home, the journey is necessary.
You know what though? It doesn't have to be so hard. If we would stop questioning His every move and trust Him instead we could rest. We could endure the storms seeing always the joy that is ahead. We could endure knowing our future and our hope is guaranteed. We could rest knowing His love never fails.
It is our choice: comfort or Christ. Comfort is good but Christ is better. Back to comfort in Egypt or ahead to Christ and Home?
Those who endure to the end will go Home and this calls for patience on the part of the saints.
"As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."