The Father’s Table
Reread Hebrews Chapter 13
Heb 13:9 Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them. 10 We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat.
It seems that fairly often I am drawn to a scripture passage that has to do with eating. Here is another one. When Jesus accomplished His work on the cross, it became no longer necessary to engage in the Old Testament sacraments, or ceremonial foods as mentioned in verse 9. Those no longer carry any value to the believer in Christ. After announcing this, the writer of Hebrews follows up with a different thought. He states that “we have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat.”
Of course, the writer is referring to spiritual food. The everlasting food and drink often mentioned in scripture is spiritual. That spiritual food is constantly available to us, in the form of worship of our Lord. Further, that spiritual food is providing us with all we need to live godly lives. It is a reminder that the ‘food’ provided us by our Savior has an everlasting effect.
As I read this passage recently, I thought of a possible application to the prodigal son and to our SSA. We all know men and women who have left the Father’s table and went away to partake from the enemy’s table, as did the prodigal son. In doing so, they willingly chose to distance themselves from their only legitimate source of spiritual food. I’m going to draw a fine line here. The writer of Hebrews said that there are some who have no right to eat at the altar from which you and I draw our spiritual nourishment.
However, the prodigal son had indeed partaken of this life-giving, eternal food. He sat at the father’s table and enjoyed the finest of all things which the father provided. You and I have sat at this same table. But we and the prodigal son have at times chosen to walk away from that place of safety and comfort and eat at the altar of our enemy. The good news is that we are given the chance to choose to return to the Father’s table. Just as the prodigal son was welcomed when he returned to his father, our Father runs to embrace us and prepare a feast in celebration of our return.
I mentioned earlier that all of us know men and women who have left the Father’s table. We also know men and women who have never sat at His table. Let us never forget those who are out in the world on the wrong pathway. Whether they are God’s children who need to return, or if they need to experience their first experience at His table, let us continue to pray for them at every opportunity. Further, we must be alert to opportunities to speak into their lives, showing them the way, or the way back, to the Father.
There is another application here. Verse 9 contrasts the difference between being strengthened by grace and being strengthened by ceremonial foods. Let us never forget that grace is our only hope. We cannot “do” anything which will do anything to achieve our righteousness and purity. We must sit at the Father’s table and gorge ourselves on His endless supply of grace and mercy. The unsaved have no right to partake of those delicacies. But we do, and let us not take lightly our privilege and right to eat at His table. Wow!
Prayer: We are remiss in realizing how great it is to have the right to sit at Your table. Lord, forgive me for those times when I left Your house and partook in the food which only hogs will eat. For that is exactly what the this world offers.