**This post is part of my "Thankful Thursday" series, but it's being posted a bit late! Sorry to those of you (like me) who can be anal about such things!**
"Let us therefore, receiving a kingdom that is firm and stable and cannot be shaken, offer to God pleasing service and acceptable worship, with modesty and pious care and godly fear and awe." Hebrews 12:28 (Amplified Bible)
After dealing with a sick child for a few days, my thankfulness seems to have flown out the window! Of course, today I am thankful that she seems to be feeling better and her little body is on the mend. Just know that it wasn't easy to set my heart toward gratitude when I was covered in vomit, watching endless episodes of "The Flintstones", sitting in the pediatrician's waiting room for 2 hours late Tuesday afternoon, or almost being washed away by a sudden storm as I tried to get prescriptions filled! Can I get an "Amen" from all the parents out there?!
So, this morning, in order to set my heart right, I decided to do a word search for "thankful" at Biblios.com, which is one of my favorite online Bible resources. The first verse to pop up was Hebrews 12:28. The New International Version states it this way, "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe." Today, I am so very thankful for the unwavering kingdom, created by a Sovereign, Almighty God!
After doing a quick word study on the phrase "let us be thankful" (from the NIV), I found that the Greek words used here are "echōmen charin", meaning "to have or to hold grace (graciousness) or favor". In trying to use the Greek more literally, I would paraphrase this verse like so: "Since [through the blood of Christ], we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be moved or shaken, let us therefore hold an attitude of graciousness towards God, whereby we may worship Him the way He ought to be worshipped - with reverence and awe."
When we consider that this world is not our own and that we are part of an immovable, unshakable kingdom, we can put things in proper perspective.
We are free to be gracious.
We are free to worship.
We are free from this world.
As I dug further, I came across this great commentary by Albert Barnes, taken from his Notes on the Bible.
Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God - Margin, "let us hold fast." The Greek is, literally, let us have grace; the meaning is, "let us hold fast the grace or favor which we have received in being admitted to the privileges of that kingdom." The object of the apostle is, to keep them in the reverent fear and service of God. The "argument" which he presents is, that this kingdom is permanent. There is no danger of its being overthrown. It is to continue on earth to the end of time; it is to be established in heaven forever. If it were temporary, changeable, liable to be overthrown at any moment, there would be much less encouragement to perseverance. But in a kingdom like this there is every encouragement, for there is the assurance:
(1) that all our interests there are safe;
(2) that all our exertions will be crowned with ultimate success,
(3) that the efforts which we make to do good will have a permanent influence on mankind, and will bless future ages; and
(4) that the reward is certain.
A man subject to a government about whose continuance there would be the utmost uncertainty, would have little encouragement to labor with a view to any permanent interest. In a government where nothing is settled; where all policy is changing, and where there are constantly vacillating plans, there is no inducement to enter on any enterprise demanding time and risk. But where the policy is settled; where the principles and the laws are firm; where there is evidence of permanency, there is the highest encouragement. The highest possible encouragement of this kind is in the permanent and established kingdom of God. All other governments may be revolutionized; this never will be - all others may have a changeful policy; this has none - all others will be overthrown; this never will.
What a great reminder this week as we elected new leaders across the country, that no matter the political atmosphere of our great nation, God is in control! His Kingdom is UNSHAKABLE! It cannot be moved. That is reason enough to fill our hearts with overflowing gratitude in such an uncertain time. I hope this word encourages your heart as it has mine.