See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:25-29).
I had a recent conversation with someone from the community, who abruptly brought up many recent disturbing world and national events, namely recent terror attacks. It was clear that they were weighing heavily on him. The conversation continued for some time, until he asked something rather forcefully. He said, “Well, what are we going to do about all this?!” In other words, things in the world are getting so bad that there is little hope for the next generation. I got to thinking about his question, and reflecting on the reality that we are the benefactors of an unshakeable kingdom.
There are disturbing realities in our world: War, terrorism, displaced people groups, rising crime, and environmental concerns. These may be somewhat distant realities from us, but we experience in very personal ways other harsh realities such as, unemployment, illness, and the death of loved ones.
Whatever point of suffering, or hardship we are experiencing, we can be reminded of these words from Hebrews. “ Let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken.” When we are experiencing tragedy or uncertainty, we are comforted by the reality that our suffering is only temporary, and we are already a part of the unshakeable, Kingdom of God. In the midst of incredible uncertainty and pain, we can have confidence that we do already have certainty and hope.
In the chapter prior, (Heb 11:1), we’re told that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things not seen.” This is helpful as we read of this unshakeable kingdom that we have received, because we have not yet seen the reality of this unshakeable kingdom fully. It is still invisible to us in many ways. For example, we can read about the genocide of Christians in some parts of the world, descriptions of how they are being brutally tortured, and murdered. Yet, just as us, our fellow believers are able to say with gratefulness that they have already received a kingdom that cannot be shaken. We can have the same confidence towards the present and future that we do about the unseen past. Just as we believe that God created the world, we have faith that he will renew the world.
So, next time you hear about a corrupt politician, or hear about how close we are to economic, or geopolitical catastrophe, look with hope, not to that which can be shaken, (e.g. a better politician, a better economic policy, or world leaders) but to Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith, who has established the only kingdom in the world, and all of history, that cannot be shaken. In light of this, have hope, and share this amazing reality with others.