April 27, 2020 – Monday
Hebrews 2:15 NIV
15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Hebrews 2:15 NKJV
15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Earlier today I simply could not get going on the verse of the day after food pick up from the Life Enrichment Center (LEC) in Dayton. Plus I banged my head pretty good on the liftgate of the SUV I was loading and had a headache most of the afternoon. Then there was Bible study where we covered Psalm 88. After the Bible study I knew what I was to write about – Psalm 88 and Hebrews 2:15.
We looked at Psalm 88 in the NKJV and parts of it in the NIV. I recommend looking at both versions for a deeper understanding. Psalm 88 is one of the most depressing Psalms you can read. You have to go to Psalm 22 to to find one in the same category. However, Psalm 22 was written by David while Psalm 88 was written by Heman. So you are probably asking yourself, “Why all this talk about Psalm 88 when the verse of the day is from Hebrews 2:15?” Great question!
Psalm 88 was clearly written when the writer Heman was going through a great depression. For example in speaking to God he writes
3 For my soul is full of troubles, And my life draws near to the grave.
4 I am counted with those who go down to the pit; I am like a man who has no strength,
5 Adrift among the dead, Like the slain who lie in the grave,
Whom You remember no more, And who are cut off from Your hand.
Anyone who has every gone through a depression can relate to the emotions Heman is sharing with us in this Psalm. Then we come to Hebrews 2:15 near the end of our Bible study where it was mentioned the fear of death was discovered by psychologists to be the most common cause of anxiety and often depression. Here we have in Psalm 88 depression and anxiety expressed by Heman. But in Hebrews we find the answer to the bondage or slavery such fear can cause in us. The answer to the fear of death is Jesus who conquered death. Thus looking at our verse of the day in context we have
14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. NJKV
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels He helps, but Abraham’s descendants. NIV
Through Jesus we are all Abrahams descendants and freed of the fear of death knowing the risen Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior. It is something we have that most in the Old Testament simply did not have or at least not with great confidence. Heman began his Psalm with these two verses
1 O Lord, God of my salvation, I have cried out day and night before You.
2 Let my prayer come before You; Incline Your ear to my cry. NKJV
So he was not bereft of hope, but depression seemed to overwhelm his hope throughout the next sixteen verses. Unlike Heman, we know Jesus; we have no reason to be without hope no matter how bad our circumstances might be at any given time. Jesus has shown death is conquered! Not only did He pay the price for our sins so we would not have to suffer the wrath of God, He also conquered death so that we no longer have to be in bondage to the fear of death. A Great Blessing for each and everyone of us.
Riley D. Driver-Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton