Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe. Hebrews 12:28
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, and the lives of everyone were turned upside down, I immediately looked for things that felt stable. I worked out with my favorite workout instructor over Facebook live, I baked and cooked comforting foods, I talked to my family members over the phone a lot. There is a reason I sought out workouts that felt familiar to me, comforting foods, and conversations with my family. You see, when the ground beneath us feels unstable, it is only natural to turn to things that are stabilizing. As I sought out these things, I quickly found that regardless of how great my exercise is, how comforting my food is, or the amount of conversations I have with my family members, there is only One who is truly stabilizing: the Lord. You can be sure of this: in a world where things are constantly changing, He is never changing. He is a firm foundation. When you focus on Him and His kingdom, you will be moved toward gratitude.
As long as we are living on earth, there will be reminders that the world is unsteady and broken. In fact, the writer of the book of Hebrews reminds us that one day everything that is shakable will fade away (Hebrews 12:27). When this happens, only the things that are unshakable will remain (verse 27). These unshakable things, of course, are the things of God and His Kingdom. The writer of Hebrews concludes, "since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe" (verse 28). Let the words of this verse sink in. "We are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable." The ground beneath you may be shifting daily, but the Kingdom that you are receiving is unshakable. In light of this good news, the writer of Hebrews calls us to be thankful and to worship God. This good news leads to gratitude as we set our eyes and hope on the things that are unshakable.
Even when everything around you feels like it is shaking and crumbling, we can have gratitude because we know that we can look to the things that are eternal. We can look to God and His unshakable Kingdom. That is something we can truly be grateful for, even on the darkest night.
Sometimes when we feel like choosing grumbling over gratitude, we need to be reminded of the truth of Scripture. Begin today, committing Hebrews 12:8 to memory. As you memorize this verse, let it come to mind when things feel unsteady and thank the Lord for being unshakable.
Read Hebrews 12:14-29 (NLT)
Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.
You have not come to a physical mountain, to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai. For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. They staggered back under God’s command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, “I am terrified and trembling.”
No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.
Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain.
Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.