Aloha Friday Message – January 30, 2015 – Hesitation Nation

1505AFC013015 – Hesitation Nation

Read it online here, please.

Hebrews 3:7-8 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, as on the day of testing in the wilderness …”

“I wish I could lose some weight.”

“I need to start saving some money for retirement!”

“I have got to stop saying ‘yes’ to everything.”

“I should call my mom; she’s probably lonely after Dad died.”

“Tax time again. This year I’m not going to wait until the last minute.”

“You know, I ought to get back to going to church.”

OK, beloved, maybe you’ve got another “one of these days” theme in your life. I’ve got three words for you: WHAT’S STOPPING YOU? “I don’t know. I just can’t seem to get motivated to, you know, do it.” I’ve got three words for you: GET ON WITH IT. “I’m not sure where to start. It just seems so overwhelming!” I’ve got three words for you: GET OVER IT! You know that old saying, “He who hesitates is lost.” Perhaps you know this one: “Postponement is the father of failure.” For many of us who say “one of these days” it turns out to be “none of these days.” Hesitation can be fatal; no, really, especially if it is hesitation that interferes with staying or becoming healthy. That little voice we hear reminding us that we need to do something is able soothe our worrying by saying, “There’s still time.” Think back to a couple of weeks ago when I said, “Now would be a good time.” (1/11/15) In that post there was this from St. Paul – 2 Corinthians 6:2 For he says, “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! (See Isaiah 49:8) When is that “day of salvation?” Check out Hebrews 4:7 again he sets a certain day—”today”—saying through David much later, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

Sometimes when we hesitate, we just want someone to take us by the hand and lead us forward. Remember when Lot was visited by the Angels just before the destruction of Sodom? Genesis 19:16 When Lot hesitated, the men [angels] grabbed his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters because the LORD had compassion on them. They led them away and placed them outside the city. (NET Bible) Sometimes we get help like that from the “angels” in our lives – a friend, a family member, a pastor – but often we are the ones who have to make the effort to get up and go. Perhaps Lot hesitated to give up what he had because he did not know what he was about to receive – safety. We often dilly-dally about making changes. First, we are programmed to dislike change; it makes us uncomfortable. And second, we often fear that what’s coming is not as good as what’s here. For Lot, as it turned out, he kept his life but he ended up losing his wife anyway, and he and his daughters escaped to a safe haven – sort of. He was taken to a little place which came to be named Zoar which means “Little Place.” Sometimes we are just too stubborn to make the change that is best for us, so we satisfice – we settle for the minimally-acceptable alternative.

Beloved, that is not God’s way. God always wants to give us his best blessings, his best protection, and his best help. When we settle for less than the best, we go against what God wants for us. The prophet Jeremiah assured us that God is prepared to give us hope regardless of our fears. In Jeremiah 29:11 God says, 11 For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. We should not choose things which tarnish that hope. The Israelites had heard God speaking and were reluctant to hear him again because they found it frightening even if it meant hope. Moses told the Israelites about that hope in Deuteronomy 18:17-20 – [Moses told the people:] 17 Then the Lord replied to me: “They are right in what they have said. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command. 19 Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable. 20 But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, or who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak – that prophet shall die.”  God’s way is to have us rest in the safety of his Love, and that rest is surely a divine rest because it is based on God’s resting on the seventh day – it is a Sabbath rest.

In the Old Covenant, “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it Holy” was the third commandment. In the New Covenant, we still need to take time to be with the Lord, to rest in him, to honor him, to experience his Peace. Paul says in Hebrews 4:9 So then, a Sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; it is another of God’s blessings for those who are faithfully obedient. It is also a day set aside for learning from and about God. Many of the teaching moments in the Gospels are on the Sabbath, for example in Mark 1:21 we read –  21 They went to Capernaum; and when the Sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. In the passage in Hebrews the word used for “Sabbath rest” is σαββατισμὸς sabbatismos {sab-bat-is-mos’}. It is a rare word and specifically refers to “Sabbath rest.” In other passages, the word translated as “rest” is κατάπαυσις katapausis {kat-ap’-ow-sis}. In the Old Covenant, this was the rest of refuge gained by settling in Canaan. In the New Covenant, σαββατισμὸς sabbatismos {sab-bat-is-mos’} is a rest that is greatly blessed by the cessation of toils and troubles in the Kingdom by those who worship God “in Spirit and in Truth.” (See John 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.) Jesus is the Prophet God promised in Deuteronomy. He was sent to speak to us everything that God commands.

Hardened heartIn the Gospel of John we read in John 7:16 16 Then Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine but his who sent me. 17 Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own. He speaks the Truth because he IS the Truth! He says only what his Father says, does only what his Father does. (See John 12:49 and John 5:19). He is the personification of the Sabbath Rest – in the Old Covenant it was a reminder of God’s providence for his creation and for the rescue of Israel from slavery. In the New Covenant, it is the testimony of Jesus as the Lord of the New Heavens and New Earth yet to come and the rescue of every living soul who believes in him from the death of sin. God has provided everything we need to restore us to him. It is all perfectly worked out. There is no reason to hem-and-haw about what to do next. There is no reason for hesitation; however, if you are still hesitant, then keep your eyes open for the Angels who will lead you away from death to New Life. Sometimes they try to get through to you even in an email. Harden not your heart.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved


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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License


Except where stated otherwise, all scripture from New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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