“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe; for indeed our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29, NRSV)
The section of scripture beginning in verse twenty-five (25) and concluding in verse twenty-nine gives to us as believers a very somber warning and command. The writer of this epistle is very clear to remind his readers that the Exodus Israelites did not escape judgment and punishment for their blatant disregard of God’s provision. The writer goes to warn his present generation readers that if they were punished, then how much more would those who rejected the grace of God through Jesus Christ be punished? He reminds his readers with a reference to Isaiah (13:13) that God will “shake” both heaven and earth. This shaking is a reference to severe judgment and destruction of all that is not eternal neither associated with the righteousness of God.
We are reminded that we have not received something from God that can be judged or destroyed, but we have received a part in the kingdom of God that cannot be “shaken” or destroyed. For this reason we are to be thankful, or grateful to God. Our sin shouts vociferously toward heaven when we fail to be thankful! Oh, the hideousness of the sin of unthankfulness. The lack of gratitude leads us to bitterness, to complaining or mumbling. We come like the Exodus generation in the wilderness. The promise is plain, we have a part in something that is eternal and cannot be judged or destroyed.
It is our duty to go to God in humility and beg forgiveness for such an ungrateful attitude. We need to beg God in assisting us through His Holy Spirit to enable us to develop the attitude of thankfulness with reverence and awe. The command of our writer is, “let us give thanks.” Be sure to consider the example of the Exodus Israelites. They rejected the grace of God, they complained, they were bitter, and they were punished severely.
Make it your prayer today to be thankful, to have a thankful heart and attitude. Ask God to rid your heart of grumbling and complaining. Remember that we have a part in a kingdom that will never be shaken when God comes to shake both heaven and earth.