By Sarah Morrison
Staff Writer for The Daily Grace Co.
Be satisfied with what you have, for he himself has said, I will never leave you or abandon you. Therefore, we may boldly say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Remember your leaders who have spoken God’s Word to you. Hebrews 13:5-7
I don’t think that many of us will have any qualms with the understanding that Scripture ought to be incorporated into our everyday lives. We are generally reconciled to hanging it on our doorposts, talking about it with our children, meditating on it often. However, what does it look like to thread Scripture through the fabric of our conversations? What does it mean to participate in the conversation of Scripture?
When we speak, it ought to be established in Scripture. When we listen, we ought to have ears opened to discern the Word of God. Our interactions need to be centered on our Bibles because that is one of the primary foundations of our relationship with God. Hebrews chapter 13 gives us a glimpse of the conversation of Scripture if we read it thoroughly. Verses 5b-7a reveal to us something important concerning the pattern and way in which the Word of God is woven through our lives.
He Speaks, Verse 5b
In the middle of a series of proverbial sayings, the author of Hebrews quotes the old testament. Pausing in their appeal to live a godly life, the writer causes the reader to remember the words of Deuteronomy 31:6. For He, Himself has said. The author of Hebrews isn’t giving some new revelation or encouragement, they draw directly from the bounds of Scripture to exhort. In so doing, we have a Word from God: He will never leave or abandon us.
What we have in this passage is Scripture quoting Scripture. Those to whom this letter was written did not have compiled Bibles with Old and New Testaments in the ways that we do. What we call the Old Testament, they knew to be Scripture; that was the compiled Word they had then while all of the New Testament was being written. But now that it is compiled conveniently for us, we can see with freshness how tangible this is: the authoritative Word is acknowledging the authority of the whole of Scripture.
God speaks to us through His Word. He will not contradict Himself. His Spirit and His Word are at work, convicting, teaching, and revealing. The conversation of Scripture begins when we crack open the Bible and bury ourselves in between its pages. That’s our starting point in everything. He Himself has said. We don’t have to look for a new word or revelation. We don’t have to ask God to speak something fresh, innovative, or different. He has already said it all, and He’s given it to us in Scripture.
We Speak, Verse 6
In the following verse, we see another quote from Scripture, pulled from Psalm 118:6. But before the quote we read, “therefore.” Therefore we may boldly say. The author is reminding us that because of the promise told to us in the Word of God, we can be bold, fixed, and secure. Because Scripture bolsters our faith, we can respond in remembrance of what God’s Word says. We can remember that the Lord is our helper.
The strength of our hearts partly relies on our remembrance of Scripture. When we hear God speak to us through His Word, our response can be bathed in Scripture, too. We read God’s Word, thereby hearing it, and then we react to God by His Word, too.
How much would our lives change if our behavior, emotions, actions, and reactions were shaped by what God has perfectly said rather than molded by our imperfect hearts? If we are hurt, frantic, and fearful, ought not we proclaim Psalm 118:6? If we are caught up by the wiles of sin, can we not cry out Psalm 51:1? If we are contented and delighted in God, should we not respond by remembering Psalm 97:12?
Others Speak, Verse 7
In verse 7, the writer returns to speaking more in proverbs, but this particular verse urges us to remember our leaders who have spoken the Word of God to us. We need leaders, peers, mentors, and friend who are speaking the Word of God to us. We need other believers. We need them to remind us what God’s Word says. We can read and pray individually in solitude, and we should do so, but we cannot only do that. We need others rallying beside us. The Christian faith is a communal endeavor.
So when we read our Bibles and God’s Word washes over us, and when we respond resolved by Scripture, the final piece of the puzzle is others who are speaking words of truth to us. We need this every day. We need this moment by moment. We need these people, and we need to be these people to others. We have a heavy dependence on remembering Scripture. We cannot afford to forget it, and we can’t afford to let others do so, either.
Make no mistake—this happens throughout Scripture. Each book of the Bible harmonizes with the others. The biblical authors sing different parts of the same song, each confirming what the others have said. By these instances we garner comfort in knowing that God is sovereign and His Word is authoritative. There’s no denying that we’re forgetful creatures. We often rely on constant affirmation and reiteration to thrive in our relationship with God. We need to continually recall what God has done, who He says He is, and how we need to respond. On these three fronts, Scripture fights against our proclivity of forgetfulness. God has spoken and given us access to Himself through our Bibles. Scripture speaks to us. And in our humanity, we talk about Scripture back to God. With earnestness, we live in a community that feasts of the Bible, placing ourselves among brothers and sisters in Christ who can and will remind us of what God has spoken when we inevitably forget.