Saturday, May 31, 2014

Marsha's Musings: Root of Bitterness (Hebrews 12:12-17 NKJV)

Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 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; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 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. (Hebrews 12:12-17 NKJV)

It's interesting how Scripture takes on new meaning to me personally at different times and circumstances of my life.  I always took verse 12 to mean I was to strengthen my own hands and knees,figuratively and spiritually. But as I read it in the context here, it seems to be saying we are to strengthen those who are weak in the faith. The verse is in the context of "all people".

We to pursue peace and holiness. We are to encourage others so they don't fall short of the grace of God.  This is not saying we are to go around nit picking other Christians with a self-righteous attitude about short-comings we perceive they have. This is the opposite of pursuing peace and encouragement.

Roots of bitterness are tough things to get rid of.  The root sits down in the heart out of sight for a long time and then suddenly one day it springs up for others to see.  It may be disguised as a flower and others may not see it for what it is until one day it seems to multiply and take on a life of its own.  The seeds from the matured bitterness weed may blow over to other Christians and take root in their hearts too and before we know it the whole church is being affected by it. It's an ugly thing to watch happen. Indeed many are defiled by it.

The bit about Esau really bothered me.  Is it possible, I wondered, that a person could seek repentance  diligently with tears and God would turn him away?  Then I read the following in the Geneva Study Bible:

"There was no room left for his repentance: and it appears by the effects, what his repentance really was, for when he left his father's presence, he threatened to kill his brother."

So it appears his repentance was self seeking and not true repentance by virtue of the fact that he vowed to kill Jacob.  This is the root of bitterness at its worst. This is why we must pull it up completely and get rid of it!  This why we must take every thought captive to the Word of God. Oh, that God would help me to do this!

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