An Anchor For the Soul.

For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. – Hebrew 6:13-20 ESV

Living as a believer in this fallen world requires hope. Hope in something far greater to come. Hope in the reality of heaven and hope in God’s promise to His children that He will one day make our eternity a reality. To emphasize the faithfulness of God and the reliability of His promise, the author used Abraham as a case in point. He reminds his readers that Abraham had been give a promise by God to bless and multiply him. But Abraham had to wait a long time for that promise to be fulfilled. It would be 25 years before Isaac was born, and all during that time, Abraham had to deal with the very real fact that he and his wife were not getting any younger and she was no less barren than when the promise was made. When the promise of God was finally fulfilled and Isaac was born, Abraham rejoiced in the faithfulness of God. He had come through for them. He had done the impossible and given Abraham and Sarah a son and heir, in spite of their old age and her barrenness. But not too many years later, God commanded Abraham to take his son, the very one he had so long waited for, and offer him up as a sacrifice. And Abraham obeyed. How? Why? Because he had faith in God. When Isaac asked his father, “where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” (Genesis 22:7 NLT), Abraham was able to confidently answer, “God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son” (Genesis 22:8 NLT). His answer did not necessarily mean he believed God was going to provide a replacement or stand-in for his son, but that he trusted God fully and completely in what He was asking him to do. Later on in this same letter, in chapter 11, the Great Hall of Faith, the author will explain more fully what was going on in Abraham’s mind at that moment.

It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead. – Hebrews 11:17-19 NLT

Abraham trusted in the character of God. He knew he could trust God and that even if he had to go through with the sacrifice of Isaac, God was powerful enough to raise his son from the dead. God was going to fulfill His promise and Isaac was key to that happening. When Abraham had shown God that he was willing to obey His command fully, God intervened. He sent an angel to stop Abraham from killing Isaac and provided a ram as a substitute sacrifice. Then God said to Abraham, “Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me” (Genesis 22:16-18 NLT). In swearing by His own name, God was emphasizing that His promises were based on His very nature or character. He is trustworthy, faithful, unchanging, powerful, and loving. He can be trusted. “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” (Numbers 23:19 NLT). “If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.
” (2 Timothy 2:13 NLT). 

God had made a promise and an oath. These two unchangeable things were the basis of Abraham’s hope. He kept waiting and relying upon the promise of God that had been sealed with the oath of God. He knew His God could be trusted to fulfill all that He had promised. And that is the author’s message to us. Because it is impossible for God to lie, “we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. ” (Hebrews 6:18-19 NLT). We have been promised eternal life through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. We have placed our hope and faith in Him as the means by which we can inherit eternal life. But we must maintain our confidence even in times of testing. We must keep hoping in the promise made to us by God through His Son. Periods of spiritual barrenness should not defeat us. Delays as to His return should not demoralize us. God has promised and He can be trusted, because He does not lie. We have a firm anchor for our souls, even in the storms of life. Jesus, our high priest, has gone on ahead of us and He intercedes for us with God the Father on a daily basis. He is the anchor to which our souls must hold firm, no matter what happens around us. He not only saved us, He is sanctifying us, and one day He will return to redeem and glorify us.

This passage always brings to mind the words of an old hymn. It sums up well the message found in this passage.

In times like these you need a Savior
In times like these you need an anchor;
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

This Rock is Jesus, Yes, He’s the One;
This Rock is Jesus, the only One!
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

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