1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.
5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “MY SON, DO NOT DESPISE THE CHASTENING OF THE LORD, NOR BE DISCOURAGED WHEN YOU ARE REBUKED BY HIM;
6 FOR WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE CHASTENS, AND SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.”
7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?
8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?
10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.
11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,
13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;
16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.
17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
18 For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest,
19 and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore.
20 (For they could not endure what was commanded: “AND IF SO MUCH AS A BEAST TOUCHES THE MOUNTAIN, IT SHALL BE STONED OR SHOT WITH AN ARROW.”
21 And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I AM EXCEEDINGLY AFRAID AND TREMBLING.”)
22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,
23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,
24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,
26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “YET ONCE MORE I SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO HEAVEN.”
27 Now this, “YET ONCE MORE,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
29 For our God is a consuming fire.
Verse 13 keeps percolating. In the AMP it says: Cut through and make smooth,straight paths for your feet (that are safe and go in the right direction), so that the leg which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather may be healed. There was something sitting in that, something opposite the world’s way…then the Lord pointed out: in man’s understanding, the leg is the problem. It’s the leg needing fixing- you go to the doctor to reset, realign or do surgery on the leg. Particularly if there is pain, an injury or lameness can become all consuming; it takes our attention. Even if the leg was put back in joint, if the root of the injury is not addressed the issue persists, it can fall out of joint again. We can’t walk the same roads expecting different results.
God’s way is to make straight and smooth the road, to remove that which caused injury in the first place, by drawing close to Him, abiding. The road is made straight and smooth (safe and right) so that the leg can heal. No longer walking unstable ground, it can get time to heal. And what better way to heal than to bring blood, which nourishes, to the joint. By the Blood, we are healed.
The running of a race or navigating a course implies engaging any obstacles, inclines, or detours in such a way that they don’t prohibit arrival. For each of us, there is a unique set of obstructions that make up the trials Jesus said we would encounter as our experience of life on this earth. (John 16:33) What we get from Him, though, is the way to turn difficulties into triumphs. By going to Him in each of them for correction and direction we are kept from taking turns in this life that might appear to be avoiding difficulty, but are really just keeping us from our intended destination. Like a parent or coach providing an adjustment whenever a step or way fails, we look to Jesus to find redirected focus from the difficulty of the course to the reward for any necessary enduring. With Him and so many others through the centuries who have proven the triumphs of faith as our examples, we can be incredibly encouraged as we join those who could not be shaken by life’s greatest challenges.
We have been secured with life that requires no merit on our part, but successfully pressing beyond the temptations and oppositions that would steal its true abundance requires correcting revelation of truth that can only come by faith in the One we are joined with in heaven. Triumph in this life isn’t a right or an equity requirement, with no need for the endurance of offenses or injustices. Giving in to any of the temptations to avoid enduring them will only serve to divert from the mark set before us in Christ. Failures are inevitable, but there is a way for each of them to become part of a greater anchoring to our Rock when He is considered for course correction at each turn. Those injuries that would otherwise disable and discourage can be avoided by the wisdom found at His side for obstacle removal and straightening of paths. He is speaking His words of life – peace, joy, fulfillment, health, and great purpose – in every moment and at every seemingly impossible trial to those who look away from trials to the One who triumphed over them all with overcoming joy. His fire will consume all those perishable obstructions, leaving us forever secured from any shaking in His love.