August 7, 2023 – Monday
Hebrews 12:15 NIV
15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
Hebrews 12:15 NKJV
15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;
Hebrews 12:15 RGT
15 Watch carefully, so no one falls away from the grace of God. Let no root of bitterness spring up and trouble you, lest many be defiled by it.
This past Sunday we attended Calvary Chapel Evansville IN and heard Andy Fuller teach on the words bitter, bitterness, and bitter root. It all heralded from his teenage years and an album by the Eagles called Desperado and a particular song titled Bitter Creek. You may find the lyrics here and also find out it was named after an outlaw named George ‘Bitter Creek’ Newcomb who was part of the Dalton gang. Newcomb ended up in the Wild Bunch gang where he was killed by bounty hunters.
All that to say as a teenage rebel he was moved by this song and others. He did not end up as an outlaw, but instead became an evangelist preaching about salvation through Christ alone. He also mentioned bitter root, likely from Hebrews 12:15 but I don’t have that in my notes. Nonetheless I was led to look up verses with bitter and bitter root. Only one verse mentioned bitter root, our verse for today.
Turns out the verse is not talking about a literal root but refers symbolically to a person who causes trouble. And the trouble comes from Deuteronomy 29:17 LXX, And ye beheld their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which are among them which leads to 29:18 (NIV) which is where this verse come from, Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the LORD our God to go and worship the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison.
Looking at the beginning of the verse, we are to see or look or watch carefully to help our brothers and sisters keep from falling away from the grace of God, turning their backs on what Jesus has done for them and falling into sin/evil. We need to do so to keep bitterness from taking root among us, a family of believers, church or actual family. This can happen when there is a loss where hurt and pain can turn into bitterness and a resultant turning away from God.
Many of us can probably relate to such pain in our own lives and the temptation to blame God while turning away from Him. How each of us overcame such pain and remained faithful, not permitting bitterness to take root and rob us of our faith was a personal journey. Remembering that can help us to keep watch among our fellow believers and be ready to stand with them with great sympathy to help them through their pain and suffering. We can do this and keep the poison of bitterness from affecting many.
Bottom Line: If we have been there, we can help and must help. If we haven’t been there we still need to have empathy and understanding.
Prayer: Almighty God, Help us through our personal trials and tribulations so that we might help others with theirs as well.
– In Jesus’ Name.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton