To the Faithful, the Details Matter -- a Devotional Thought from Hebrews 9:1-15

I want to introduce you to three young men. There names are Ted, Ed, and Ned. Although their names are similar, their stories are different.

Ted is a committed Christian. He has been for a number of years. Realizing that he has been saved by the blood of The Crucified One, he is humble. There are no great sin problems in his life for Ted seeks to be sensitive to the Spirit of God and nip those things in the bud as they arise.

Ed, on the other hand, has a stubborn sin problem. He's definitely a Christian and has made great strides in his walk in all areas save one. It's not that Ed doesn't feel bad. He does. When he gives in yet again, the conviction of the Spirit is evident and he feels terrible. Ed expresses sorrow and seeks to break free but it is difficult.

A bigger contrast from the first two is Ned. He is a professing Christian. Years ago, he said a prayer and he feels that seals the deal. Ned has his "get out of Hell card" and that's good enough for him. It's not that Ed doesn't know that the Bible speaks against drunkenness, sexual relations outside of marriage, lying, selfishness, profane language and gluttony. He knows but he just doesn't care. It's his private life and everyone just needs to butt out and mind their own business. His soul is eternally secure (in his mind) so his fellow believers need to lay off.

So, that takes us to Hebrews 9:1-15. Take a minute and read that and then get back to me.

Have you done it? Good. I know, you're tempted to move on from this blog, aren't you? Yet bear with me. Though the words, phrases and details may give you a headache, the Lord is in the details. Now how is that for turning a popular phrase on its head?

The passage above and in Exodus point out that the tabernacle had two sections. The first was referenced here as the sanctuary. Its furniture included the lamp stand, the table of show bread and the altar of incense. For the sake of this devotional, our concentration will be primarily in the sanctuary in general and the lamp stand in particular.

Exodus 25:31–39 goes into great detail concerning the lamp stand. It was made of a talent of fine-hammered gold. All that went into it was amazing. Exodus 25 then ends with this thought: And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain (v. 40).

God seemed incredibly concerned with the details. The reason can be found in Hebrews 8:1-5. In that section of Scripture, the writer of Hebrews stated that the sanctuary on the Earth was modeled after the "true tabernacle" in Heaven, of which the Earthly "copy" was merely a "shadow."

You will find that Moses, Aaron and all who truly followed God cared about the details even as God did. If they were important to God, they were important to those who were His. There were no attempts to short-cut the process or cheapen the materials. The details mattered to God and His true followers because they were patterned after something greater in heaven.

Some who profess Christ live their lives as if the details didn’t matter. As long as we said a sinner's prayer, then what we do with our private lives doesn’t matter, they reason. However, the details do matter, because our lives are to be patterned after Someone greater in heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ. As the details of the tabernacle were incredibly important to God and His true followers in Israel, so too should be the details of Christ's commands, both positive and negative, brought to us through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as revealed in the New Testament.

So while the details that we read about the implements of the tabernacle, its furnishings and its design may make our heads spin and wonder why, God gave us in the Church some details in His Word to follow too. Those details are called commands. Jesus said that those who love Him would follow His commands (John 14:15). Though we live under Grace and not the Law, there is a "law" that we follow, which Paul calls "the Law of Christ (Romans 8:1-16; Galatians 6:1-2)." He used this turn of phrase to remind us that following Christ involves details beyond a mere prayer of belief and sorrow over sin. And these details are important to Him and therefore are important to all who truly follow Him.

Which brings us back to the three men. Ted cares about the details of God's Word to the Church, as revealed in the New Testament. Being a genuinely saved individual, he seeks to know God through His Word and follow Him by following those commands.

Like Ted, Ed too cares about what is important to Jesus. Jesus told His followers to take up their crosses daily and to follow Him. There were all sorts of commands, as expressed by Christ Himself or presented by His apostles, that Ed makes every effort by the Spirit to follow. Once he accepted Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit began a work in Ed that makes him feel guilty, awakening his conscience to that area of sin in his life so that Ed's heart and life may conform to the image of God's Son.

Unfortunately for Ned, he doesn't hear from the Holy Spirit. Since his faith lacks genuineness, there is no miracle that has taken place in his heart to make him a new creation. The sinful flesh is alive and well in Ned, fills him with pride, rebellion and a callous indifference to what the Bible says (and any Christian says) about his many sins. Ned will be numbered among those who will say in that day, "Lord, didn't I . . . (listing many seemingly spiritual things that he had done in his sinful flesh)." To which the Lord will respond, "Depart from Me, I never knew you."

Where do you fit into this story of the three men? Are you a Ted, an Ed or a Ned?

Please join me in prayer:

"Father God, I thank You that as Israel had the great details of the tabernacle to follow as a copy and shadow of the true tabernacle in Heaven, we have Someone greater in Heaven that we are to follow as His copies. Too many think they are saved. A prayer has inoculated them from the truth that they are in danger of Hell fire, of God's judgment. I pray that you will awaken within them a sense of urgency to see that the fruit of the Spirit, the details that they so easily dismiss, are lacking and vitally needed. Those who are truly Yours care about those details because You care about them.

I thank You for the Eds of this world who struggle with sin. The conviction of the Spirit, the fact that they feel bad about that sin, is a good sign that they are truly Yours. Give them final victory over that area as they continue to walk with You and become more and more like Christ.

For the Teds, we are grateful for their experience, for their victory over sin. Their humility despite their years of Christian growth is a testament of Your work in their hearts and lives. Make many more of us like them and guard their hearts and minds to stay humble and to continue to be sensitive to Your Spirit's teaching through the Word and conviction of their conscience.

Thank you for the sometimes difficult teachings of Your Word, that when we wrestle with it by Your Spirit, we can find enrichment. Help us to continue to walk with You. If You are indeed Lord, then the details matter to us. We should find Your will in the Scriptures and seek to follow and obey it by Your Spirit's power.

In the name of Jesus, the Minister of the true tabernacle in Heaven, I pray, Amen."

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