Where to begin? Hebrews 9 contains several verses of interest, but let’s start by contextualizing them with a summary. This chapter starts with some summarizing of its own, a quick rundown of the tabernacle’s inner and outer layout, making the point that Jesus Christ in a spiritual sense entered the Holy of Holies through his death, in order to atone for his people’s sins once and for all. Thus, the writer reasons, Christ mediates a new covenant on the basis of his own shed blood. Throughout the whole chapter, there’s a theme of the earthly vs. the heavenly, visible vs. invisible, man-made vs. divine, flesh vs. spirit, which the writer brings to the forefront to conclude the chapter. Bam, summary complete, let’s get down to the details.
Good news, everyone! Hebrews 8 begins by summing up the point of the previous chapter in a single sentence! If you haven’t read Hebrews 7 yet, you can skip it. All you folks who read Hebrews 7 all the way through and tried to figure it out, sorry you wasted your time enriching your view of scripture through study.
Like yesterday’s, today’s psalm also has a verse that you may recognize from elsewhere. The line “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (111:10) is better known as Proverbs 9:10, and I could rehash discussions of to what extent “fear” means simple respect and awe, or contrast human wisdom with “the wisdom that comes from heaven” (James 3:17). But I know you guys, and you’ve probably heard those points to absolute death. So let’s try to discover something new here.
Okay, let’s get thorough. The prophecy of Ephraim’s captivity in Isaiah 28, which we looked at yesterday, isn’t merely about drunkenness, and it’s intended as a warning for the kingdom of Judah. Isaiah addresses the second half of his message to the “scoffers who rule this people who are in Jerusalem” (28:14). The head is rotten and the leadership is subject to judgment.
It’s your birthday. You come home to your dark house, and just as you’d expect, as soon as you turn on the lights, everyone jumps out and yells, “Surprise!” Except it’s not your friends. It’s strangers, and they strip you naked and beat you with baseball bats. They leave, and from your new vantage point on the floor, you suddenly notice: there actually is a birthday cake on the counter. That’s Psalm 89.