“Now He has promised, I will once more shake not only the earth but heaven too. This phrase ‘once more’ indicates the removal of what is shaken, that is, created things, so that what is unshaken may remain” (Hebrews 12:26-27)
When we walk through days of difficulty, distress, and darkness we are prone to examine our priorities and consider what we are really living for. There are days and even seasons of our lives where a great shaking occurs. This shaking can be very personal or can be felt by society at large. This shaking can be spiritual, emotional, or physical in nature, and even a combination of these areas of our lives. Most of the time this shaking that is experienced is a figurative sense rather than a literal sense such as when an earthquake occurs. It speaks to us about a radical upsetting of the norm. It conveys a dramatic disturbance that as we say, “rocks our world.”
The author of Hebrews says that God brings about these disturbances or allow them for this reason – to separate or sift out the eternal from the temporal. One day in the future the greatest shaking the world has ever seen will occur. God has promised us this and we know His word is sure. Let’s call this yet future shaking from which there will be no escape, “the big one.” However, just as with earthquakes, there are warning tremors that signal a greater quake is coming. I believe you and I are living in a precursor to this future cataclysmic event.
The word “indicates” in verse 27 is a key word. It communicates a teachable moment. It is a time in our lives from which we can receive valuable life lessons. It is a reminder to us that each and every thing we go through has purpose in our lives and if we respond to those circumstances as God tells us to, they also can propel us forward spiritually and permit us to gain ground spiritually in our lives.
When created, physical, or temporal things pass away it only helps to emphasize and place a spotlight upon eternal things. The shakings that God allows are to clearly delineate to us what it is that should really matter to us in life. Let us not miss what God says to us here. There are things that even after the most violent shaking that remain. That is such great news! You and I will survive this shaking and anything eternal we have ever invested in or lived for will remain as well. There is coming a day when everything within the created order will be gone forever. Only the unshakable, only the eternal will abide. When God shakes the universe you and I are safe and secure in His hands. The apostle John encourages us with these words, “And the world is passing away with all its desire, but the person who does the will of God remains forever” (1 John 2:17)
Are we living for the things that will last? Let us devote ourselves to more eternal pursuits and purposes rather than the fleeting pleasures of this world. “So since we are receiving an unshakable kingdom, let us give thanks, and through this let us offer worship pleasing to God in devotion and awe” (Hebrews 12:28)