Summary: We must pay more careful attention ... so that we do not drift away (Hebrews 2:1).
WHAT MUST I DO? GUARD YOUR HEART
We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? (Hebrews 2:1-3a)
We MUST pay more careful attention … so that we do not drift away.
Drifting down the Flint River … how did I get here!?
There is a small and tranquil river in Oklahoma called the Flint River. My family used to camp there. The water was shallow and calm and we kids could play while mom and dad watched without too much concern. The problem was that not too far downstream the Flint runs into the Illinois River and then you have strong currents, deeper water, and white water rafting.
The relative safety of the river took away any sense of urgency or sobriety that I, as a young lad, might have had otherwise. I didn’t even know the Illinois River existed! Long story short: I found myself playing on an inner tube with mom and dad distracted by the needs of the four younger kids. It wasn’t long until I was wondering “Where am I and how did I get here?!” Nothing looked the same; I had floated away from the camp.
There was another public access a small ways down the river that those wanting to white water raft could put into and quickly be at the Illinois. As I floated by with an ever-increasing sense of lostness, I found my dad standing at the access waiting for me. I was never in any real danger – my dad saw what was happening very early but, without the watchful eye and love of dad, I was indeed headed to greater danger … all because I drifted inattentively.
It is easy to drift inattentively; not only down a lazy comfortable river but in other ways too.
• Relationships fall apart because we don’t work at them.
• A beautiful garden is destroyed by indifference
• A house crumbles around you through inattention
• If you are in business you don’t need to be verbally abusive to your customers to kill it, simple neglect is enough
People find it hard to understand that simply doing nothing is as dangerous in the spiritual realm as it is in other arenas of life but it is. In fact, “drifting” may be our most dangerous enemy. Most believers do not engage in active opposition like resisting, rejecting or rebelling against God’s will; we merely become passive and neglect it. However, neglect / drifting can be as disastrous as open defiance. You don’t need to commit “great sins” to destroy your soul. Simple neglect will do it just as efficiently.
Life’s river is full of currents, any one of which will sweep us past safety even when we seem nearest to it. Any one will carry us into dangerous water. It is the drift that ruins us.
Hebrews is specifically addressing drifts like
• The drift of religious activity (Judaism in this case)
• The drift of old habits and associations
• The drift of one’s own evil nature
• The drift of temptation
It is so easy, and so pleasant, to drift; to lie back, relax, and let yourself go wherever the waters will carry you. Any dead fish can go with the stream! All that we need to do to end up in hell is to neglect to be saved. And all we need to do to end up in ruin is neglect to follow God’s instruction as given in his Word.
In Warren Wiersbe’s commentary on Hebrews we discover a three-step process that happens when we neglect God’s Word. These “Three Steps to Danger” are:
• Drifting from the Word (2:1-4)
• Which leads to Doubting the Word (3:7-4:13)
• And before long we are Dull towards the Word (5:11-6:20)
The writer says, “How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?”
You see, Great Salvation brings the danger of Great Neglect!
At first, we are thankful to be saved; we attend the Church services; we know the wonder of the gospel and the great cost of our salvation; we are overwhelmed by the extent of God’s love, mercy and grace.
But gradually something changes.
We can get so taken up with the things of this world and making our life comfortable, that our love for the Lord cools. Soon we aren’t spending time with our Lord in prayer, studying or meditating upon the scriptures. Remembering the Lord at the Breaking of Bread; having fellowship with other believers, serving the Lord who died for us, or telling others of His saving grace.