Daily Devotionals

Forgotten War: Week 6 - Wednesday

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. Hebrews 4:15

It is easy to be judgmental for those people who are homeless and panhandling on the corner. When we see them with their cardboard signs at their frequent locations, we can quickly assume a lot of different things in our mind about them. We think they are probably on drugs or addicted to alcohol, and that is why they are on this street corner right now. Our minds might begin to craft a story about how they were in trouble with the law, or from a bad family, and that is why they are on the streets. We may even think that they are getting exactly what they deserve for not being a productive member of society.

The problem is that so many of these judgments are made without a proper understanding. Most of us have never been homeless like some of the examples that we see in our city. In fact, we may be freaked out by the idea of working in a soup kitchen or ministering down at a shelter in our town. We may quickly hand some spare change to the person to satisfy our guilty conscious, but we never make time to have a conversation.

I have found that if I take the time to get to know a person who is homeless, things begin to change. When I was in college, I had the opportunity to work with street people and serve at a couple of community kitchens that regularly fed people. It was through sitting down at a table and listening to these men and women that I began to empathize with their circumstances. I came to an understanding that a surface read of the situation was not always appropriate. Many of these people had deeper issues and hurt beyond their addictions that were not easily fixed with a dollar. This understanding made way to compassion.

In that same way, Jesus didn't sit far off in heaven, offering feelings of love or care. Instead, He became one of us. He humbled himself and was tempted in every way so He could fully understand our situation. Satan doesn't want us to know that we have a God who understands what we go through, so he twists the truth, making us think that God is far and distant from humanity. The evil one tries to force us to go through life empty and alone, especially when we are tempted. The good news is that Jesus was tempted in every way, and yet He was without sin. We can turn to Him for help because He understands what we are going through. We have to live in the confidence that our God understands us.

Moving Toward Action

Think for a second about all the areas that you are being tempted in right now. Make a list of some of the major temptations in your life. Then as you process that list, think through how Jesus faced the same temptation when He was on the earth. Write out some ways that His understanding might be able to help you in this Forgotten War.

Going Deeper

Read Hebrews 4:1-16 (NLT)

God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God.For only we who believe can enter his rest. As for the others, God said,

“In my anger I took an oath:
    ‘They will never enter my place of rest,’”

even though this rest has been ready since he made the world. We know it is ready because of the place in the Scriptures where it mentions the seventh day: “On the seventh day God rested from all his work.” But in the other passage God said, “They will never enter my place of rest.”

So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted:

“Today when you hear his voice,
    don’t harden your hearts.”

Now if Joshua had succeeded in giving them this rest, God would not have spoken about another day of rest still to come. So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.