Promises, Anchors, and Forerunners
written by Tommy Austin, Student Pastor (November 15, 2022)
For this week’s blog post, I would like to provide a supporting text for Pastor Neal’s sermon this past week. This past Sunday, Pastor Neal preached on the covenant that God made with Noah in Genesis 9. In this passage, we see a God that is faithful to His promises. Let’s continue that theme this week in Hebrews 6:13-20.
Hebrews 6:13-20 CSB -  For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater to swear by, he swore by himself:  I will indeed bless you, and I will greatly multiply you.  And so, after waiting patiently, Abraham obtained the promise.  For people swear by something greater than themselves, and for them a confirming oath ends every dispute.  Because God wanted to show his unchangeable purpose even more clearly to the heirs of the promise, he guaranteed it with an oath,  so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us.  We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.  Jesus has entered there on our behalf as a forerunner, because he has become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
Below are a few reflections upon this passage that beautifully display the faithfulness of our great God.
First, notice that God’s promises are built upon Himself. In verse 16, the author of Hebrews reminds us of the nature of an oath: people swear by something higher than themselves, and it settles a dispute. In our day, that would sound like, “I swear on my mothers grave that….” We want to show people that we are serious. Therefore, we build our promise upon something that we know to be higher than us or important to us. In the world of finance, this would be considered collateral. If we do not keep our promise to pay our debts, then the bank will take from us whatever we have put up as collateral.
In verse 13, God has nothing higher than himself to build His promise upon, therefore He builds His promise upon Himself. One could say that He puts His name or His dependability up as collateral. God does this because He knows His character. According to verse 17, God wanted to show that His plans are unchangeable. He demonstrates this upon two unchangeable things: His promise and His oath. God cannot lie; therefore the words of His promise and His oath stand firm until they are completely fulfilled. Now, we can rejoice in the truth of God’s faithfulness, because His promises are built upon His unchanging character.
Second, this knowledge of God’s complete faithfulness should act as an anchor for our soul. I grew up fishing with my dad on the intercoastal waterways of Tybee Island, GA. The tides around Tybee Island are strong. This meant you needed a good point to anchor your boat as you were fishing. If you did not, you were going to drift out with the tide. Similarly, the tides of the world are constantly shifting. Some days the world celebrates one thing. Another day, they condemn the same thing. If we place our hope in the solutions of the modern world, we will be disappointed. It will fall short in some way, and we will be looking for hope in the next proposed “solution”.
The promises of God are not so. The promises of God are a strong point in which we can anchor our lives. This passage reminds us that the unchangeable nature of God is an anchor for our soul, firm and secure. God will not shift. God will not change course. God will not change His mind. God’s word is built upon His nature and His nature is absolutely unchanging! Therefore, we can place our hope in Him and we will never be disappointed in His follow through.
Lastly, Jesus is the answer to God’s promises and our hope that will never fail. In verse 19, this hope is described as having entered the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. This means that our hope is in the presence of God. Then, in verse 20, our hope is given a name, Jesus. Jesus has entered the sanctuary of God (heaven) and is interceding (praying) to God on our behalf. You see, unlike my dad’s boat, our anchor is not on the bottom of the ocean. Our anchor, that is firm and secure, is in heaven in the presence of God. He is holding onto us so that we do not drift away from our place with God.
This passage also says that Jesus is our forerunner in heaven. When you go to an amusement park, it is always great to have someone as a forerunner. When you are walking to the next ride and you want to stop for a corn dog, this forerunner can go save you a place in line. Then, you get to experience the ride with less wait. Jesus is our forerunner in heaven, a place that is much, much greater than Carowinds. He is holding our spot before the throne of God. He is preparing a place for those that love and trust Him. What an amazing hope!
Church family, we serve a God that is perfectly faithful to His promises. He has built them upon His character. He has fulfilled them in His son. Therefore, they should give us, those in Christ, an ability to trust that He will be faithful to us as well. May this truth encourage you to step out in faith as you follow Christ this week.