What is the Hope that is the Anchor for Our Souls? #320
Happy Wednesday to you, dear friends, and a happy Veterans Day to those of you that live in the States. Life is a bit tough these days in the Bible Reading Podcast bunker. 4/5 kids sick and 1/2 adults sick, for a total of 5/7, which is a pretty good score for a movie, but a pretty bad score for a house full of sick people. Fortunately, it does not appear that we are being waylaid by Covid, but some other unnamed viral villain. Your prayers are appreciated and welcomed!
Today’s Bible readings (2nd Kings 24, Psalms 143, Joel 3 and Hebrews 6) are a little on the grim side – we will see the house of Judah punished greatly for its unfaithfulness, but there is great hope there too, and we will focus on the hope. As we read our 2nd Kings passage, you will note a chilling line: God was unwilling to forgive all of the innocent bloodshed in Judah. This is both comforting and confronting. Comforting because a righteous person wants justice – there should be justice and punishment for those innocents who have been killed, and God will not overlook any sin, because He is completely holy. It is also confronting, because most casual readers of the Bible have that view of God that tends almost 100% towards the merciful, not remembering (or ignoring) that God is a Holy and consuming fire. God is just, and God is holy, and God is love, and God is merciful – all of those attributes, all of the time. We find hope for Judah and Israel in our Joel passage today, which looks forward to a future where Judah and Israel are cleansed and dwelling securely with God, enjoying His protection and rich blessings.
Our focus for the day is in the New Testament passage of Hebrews, which contains a most sobering warning to persevere in the faith that we have covered before. Today we consider the wonderful promise at the end of the passage that tells us what our ultimate hope is, and just how secure that hope is. Let’s read the passage now.
According to the writer of Hebrews, we have a firm and secure anchor of hope that we can count on, and that anchor is lodged firmly and unmovingly in the inner sanctuary, in the Holy of Holies, right in the presence of God.
we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. 20 Jesus has entered there on our behalf as a forerunner, because he has become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
Jesus has gone into the holiest place in all of existence – the Holy of Holies/inner sanctuary behind the curtain in the temple of God in Heaven – and He has gone there ON OUR BEHALF! Of this secure anchor, Spurgeon exults:
Hold on, then, and trust, believer! You have “an anchor of the soul, both firm and steadfast, and one that enters into the inside of the curtain” (Heb 6:19). The winds are bellowing, the tempests howling; should the cable slip, or your anchor break, you are lost. See those rocks, on which myriads are driving? You are wrecked there if grace leave you. See those depths, in which the skeletons of sailors sleep? You are there, if that anchor fail you. It would be impossible to moor you again, if once that anchor broke; for other anchor there is none, other salvation there can be none, and if that one fail you, it is impossible that you ever should be saved. Therefore thank God that you have an anchor that cannot fail…
In the kingdom of heaven, there are some analogies with the kingdom of nature; but there are a great many heavenly things that have no earthly analogy at all, and you cannot with any accuracy argue from natural laws into the spiritual world. For instance, we have “an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast,” and we throw that anchor up: “which entereth into that within the veil.” Whereas earthly mariners drop their anchors down into the sea, we fling ours up into heaven. That is odd, but it is true; so, we dig a well, but it does not get filled from the bottom: “The rain also filleth the pools.” This is a new kind of well, and it teaches us that we must use the means, but that everything depends upon God. We have not to depend upon the means, but upon the God of the means: “The rain also filleth the pools.”
See, further, brethren, what the way to heaven is; it is a growing way, an increasing way: “They go from strength to strength.” Those who begin in their own strength go from weakness to weakness; but those who know their own weakness, and trust in the Almighty God, shall go from strength to strength. In the natural world, as we grow older, we get weaker; but in the moral and spiritual world, when it is as it should be, the older we grow, the stronger we become in God and in the power of his might. What a mercy it is to be on the road to heaven, which is a road ever upwards! From step to step, from hill to hill, from mount to mount, they climb who shall ultimately end their pilgrimage in the King’s palace above: “Every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.”
C. H. Spurgeon, “Grace and Glory,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 43 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1897), 59–60.
Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Commentary: Hebrews, ed. Elliot Ritzema and Jessi Strong, Spurgeon Commentary Series (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014), 154.
So I want to encourage you, dear podcast listener: YOU have a hope in Heaven – a firm and secure anchor, and Jesus is that firm and secure hope and He is that anchor. It is set and unmoving through every catastrophe, attack, health struggle and hardship that you face – nothing in all of creation can tug on that anchor enough to budge it. Most every night I walk and pray and seek the Lord in the midst of this difficult pandemic time, and most every night as I pray, I visualize myself coming into the inner sanctuary, overloaded with a great bag of troubles, fears and anxieties, and then casting that bag into the presence of Jesus for Him to take and vaporize them. I know from Peter that I can “7 casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:7) and I know from Hebrews that I can actually boldly go before the throne of God in Heaven with my burdens and needs and find help there:
16 Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
I’ll close with more encouraging Spurgeon-words on this wonderful passage:
when you have thus realized the patience and the comfort of the Scriptures, oh, what a hope you will have! You will share the hopes of all the saints, the hopes which stirred their spirits when they died, some of them in anguish at the stake or on the rack, or dragged at the heels of wild horses, or stoned, or sawn asunder, or slain with the sword. You will have the hope with which your godly mother died, the hope with which all those who were in Christ have died. You will have the hope that, when the Master comes, he will find you ready to welcome him;—the hope that, when his throne is set, and his courtiers are gathered around it in the great day of account, you will be there;—and the hope that, for ever, you will be with him where he is, to behold his glory, the glory which the Father has given him. I could not, if I had the tongues of men and of angels, explain and expound all that is included in the hope of patient souls that are comforted by the inspired Word of God. It is a hope full of immortality, and of it the apostle Paul says, when writing to the Hebrews, “which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the Forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” This hope we would not part with for ten thousand worlds if we had them; do you not say so, beloved? Oh, let your eyes sparkle at the very thought of this hope: let your hearts dance even at the mere mention of it; let your whole soul be invigorated and kept in tune by this hope,—that, when Jesus comes in his glory, you shall be with him, and shall reign with him for ever and ever.
C. H. Spurgeon, “Patience, Comfort, and Hope from the Scriptures,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 47 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1901), 550.