We start today’s scripture at the end. Malachi was the Old Testament’s final message to the nation that had been founded to bring the Messiah into the world, so Hebrews is the New Testament’s final message to the nation after the Messiah had come. These final words were written shortly before Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jewish state was swept away. (source: Halley’s Bible Handbook Notes)
Benediction and Final Greetings
20 Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him,through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
I thought the NIV Study Bible Notes were important here, because it links so much more scripture, however, the meaning of “God of peace” is important too, because it is used so often with benedictions, which I did not know.
13:20 God of peace. A title for God used frequently in benedictions (see Ro 15:33; 16:20; Php 4:9; 1Th 5:23 and note).blood of. See 10:29 and note. eternal covenant. The new covenant (see note on 8:8–12). What Jeremiah designates as the new covenant in 31:31 he describes as everlasting in 32:40 (cf.Isa 55:3; 61:8 and notes). great Shepherd. See, e.g., Ps 23; Isa 40:11; Eze 34:11–16, 23; 37:24; Jn 10:2–3, 11, 14, 27; 1Pe 2:25;5:4.
The note on verse 21 reminds me of what is truly good…and notice it is everything that God gives to us!
13:21 everything good. Such as faith, faithfulness, obedience and perseverance.
In my notes, I see that this letter closes with gentle appeals to its readers to be loyal to Christ and to follow Him in all aspects of everyday life—especially in brotherly love and kindness and purity and goodness, and with unceasing prayer and unwavering faith in God. Notice how we are to love and be kind to all…and “unceasing” prayer with unwavering faith in God. I would love to have that…but I know I do not. My faith wavers as much as I do! I’m always back and forth. But that makes me that much more appreciative to have a God that says, I still want you!
I think it’s easier said than done, sadly, but God already knew that…and went to the cross anyway. So the application isn’t to be perfect, rather to follow Christ knowing we are sinners and that God has the grace and mercy to help us on our journey. Excepting the gift of grace is the key to following. Faith, faithfulness, obedience and perseverance come from trial and error. And God gives us that opportunity to fall, so that we depend on Him to pick us up and help us move forward…with Him!
Lord, I know my stubborn ways cause me more harm than good, and yet I don’t give up. I’m afraid to yell defeat fearing of the weakness it will bring upon me. If only I would fully understand that in my weakness Your strength is made perfect. I thank you for always standing by my side to guide me…no matter how often I forget. I pray that I am able to come to You first and without fear of my weakness. You died on the cross knowing every part of me, so there is nothing I can hide from You. Please continue to remind me that my foolishness You still see. I pray in Jesus Name. Amen.