Last week we covered much of what was written in the first two verses of Hebrews chapter five. In the second verse there is a phrase that was not covered. Before we get to that phrase, let me remind you of the verse we are going to examine a bit more. The second verse of this chapter says: “Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity” (Hebrews 5:2). We covered compassion on the ignorant. We covered that the priest, which contextually is Jesus, was compassed with infirmity. We did not cover “them that are out of the way.”
So, who are those that are out of the way? If we look back to the days of Moses on the mount, we can find this example: “And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt” (Exodus 32:1-8).
Moses and Solomon taught about being out of the way: “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known… The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead” (Deuteronomy 11:26-28 and Proverbs 21:16).
After the days of Moses and Joshua, we find this: “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed. Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; but they did not so” (Judges 2:11-17).
The prophets declared: “But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean… For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts. Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law” (Isaiah 28:7-8 and Malachi 2:7-9).
With our context and what we have been able to read in the Scriptures above, we are seeing that the high priest is able to have compassion on those that have turned away from the commandments of the Lord. As Jesus is our high priest, we certainly see that in Him (Luke 19:1-10). Jesus taught that there is a way of return for those whom were among the saved and then later lost (Luke 15:1-32). He taught the necessity of repentance (Luke 13:1-5). He did not teach a one and you are done doctrine regarding sin. He had His apostles continue that teaching after He left this earth (Acts 2:1-41, Acts 3:19, and Acts 26:18-20). We even see that whole congregations that have erred have an opportunity to turn back into the way and be right with the Lord (Revelation 2:1-7, Revelation 2:12-22, and Revelation 3:14-22).
If you take all that we studied in last week’s article and add this to it, we should be eternally grateful that our great high priest is our advocate. Furthermore, we should be thankful that if we were to err, we are not entirely without hope to be saved. I know that I am also thankful that I can teach those whom have turned aside that they can recover themselves from the snare of the devil (II Timothy 2:24-26).
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