“Holding Tightly”

January 16, 2017

Rural Lancaster County pond scene (click to enlarge photo)
 Ice-covered pond in Lancaster County PA
(Click on photo to enlarge)

“Holding Tightly”

Note: Today’s Scripture text and a similar theme were used in “Holding Unswervingly” a message from earlier this month but with a different focus. In that message we considered what we are not to throw away. Today we consider the necessity of holding tightly (firmly, unswervingly, unwaveringly).

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise” (Hebrews 10:23).

If you feel today that you can’t make it
Keep holdin’ on, cause you can take it
If you hold on a little while longer
Hold on a little while longer
Hold on a little while longer
Hold on

I’m an avid football fan and especially enjoy the level of play in the post season. In fact it was 50 years ago yesterday that my Dad and I watched the very first “Super Bowl” (although it wasn’t called that then). It was probably on a 19 inch black and white TV which we thought was pretty good at the time. I don’t think we even imagined they would have big screens like they do today!!! Our hometown Kansas City Chiefs played the Green Bay Packers. These two teams also played in separate games yesterday but there will not be a rematch of the first Super Bowl this year!

Tight grip Yesterday I watched the games with my two Zimbabwean friends, Nathan and Neville, who have come to enjoy American football. The two games were suspenseful to the very end, one determined in the last three seconds. Using a football illustration may be somewhat ineffective since some readers do not enjoy football and international readers may be unfamiliar with the game, but please read on!!!

American football is quite different than what is called football in many other countries, which we call soccer here in the states. In spite of the name football players use their hands extensively.

A critically important and fundamental skill of football is holding on to and keeping a tight grip on the ball. When the quarterback is holding the ball for a pass he must grip it tightly. On one play yesterday Aaron Rogers (photo to left) was being sacked but still managed to hold on to the ball. If a runner is carrying the ball or a receiver catches one he must hold on to the ball tightly! Turnovers are often a deciding factor in football games

In life we must also avoid turnovers and there are many ways in which it is imperative that we keep a tight grip such as our commitment to our marriage, our family, our health, our doctrine and our integrity. I have a series of messages churning in my spirit dealing with holding on to the pattern that Scripture sets before us, a pattern that is being abandoned at an alarming rate.

The most essential tight grip is seen in our daily text: “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise.” Other versions state, “Let us hold fast without wavering” and “Without wavering, let us hold tightly.”

Salad (photo by Doris High)The text begins with the words “Let us” which is known as the hortatory subjunctive. This is my favorite preaching and writing style whether I am the listener and reader, the preacher or writer. One of the first sermons I ever preached was from Hebrews and throughout the message I repeatedly used the phrase “Let us”. After the message a listener thanked me for the salad sermon (lettuce)!

The author of Hebrews uses this phrase “let us” twelve times. When I read this book or hear sermons preached using this phrase (also known technically as the cohortatory) I am encouraged, as it seems the author or preacher is leading me, not pushing me. The writer conveys that he was facing the same circumstances as his readers so he presents a form of personal resolve in his writing.

Hebrews 10:23I believe today’s text is the singular key text in the entire book. This call to faithfulness is directed to the earliest believers who were the initial recipients of this Scripture and to all others through the ages of the Church, including us today. That’s a vital way we read the Scriptures.

We are to “hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm.” Of course primarily this hope we affirm is the hope we have in Christ. Earlier in the book we read, “we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end” (Hebrews 6:11).

And this hope we affirm is absolutely secure, “for God can be trusted to keep His promise.” Rest in this wonderful assurance today and join me in holding tightly to our hope in Christ!

Weeping may endure for the night
But if you trust in Jesus
Everything’s gonna be all right
Just hold on a little while longer
Hold on a little while longer
Hold on a little while longer
Hold on, Hold on

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, in this ever-changing society where transition beckons us daily, You are the Changeless One. As we hold tightly to the hope we profess we will not be swayed to the right nor to the left. And we hold to this hope because You are faithful to Your Word and to Your divine character. Though the heavens are silent at times and the world continues to slide into decadence and intolerance toward true Christians we remain faithful. We will hold on a little while longer and shine as lights in this dark world so that we can influence as many as possible. As we hold unswervingly to the hope we profess we will not give up due to weariness, weakness, or a wayward heart, for Your unchanging truth makes the triumph sure. We joyfully have enlisted, led by Your grace divine. Amen.


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Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Hold On”  Video  Selah

“Faithful One”  Video   Robin Mark

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