Sunday, 12 May 2019
Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. Hebrews 13:7
Here, we move to a positive exhortation from the author to “Remember those who rule over you.” The idea is one who directs, or guides, the congregation. The word is hégeomai, and it forms the basis for our modern word “hegemony.” It signifies one who carries important responsibility. Here it is in the passive, and so the thought is “to esteem/reckon heavily” (HELPS Word Studies).
In remembering them, those who are so led should consider them, be willing to submit to them, follow after them, and so on. This is specifically speaking of those “who have spoken the word of God to you.” This is an obvious reference to those who teach, preach, and provide instruction when called upon to do so. As they are the ones to impart the spiritual truths to others, it would normally be expected that they would be men of faith, and faithful in their conduct before the Lord. Because of this, the author says, “whose faith follow.”
It is a way of imploring the reader to look at the faith their leaders profess, and to act in a like manner. The word “follow” signifies “to imitate.” Obviously, if they are prone to acting in a less than desirable manner, one would not want to follow in their ways, but this is a general sentiment, given to encourage following those who are faithful. This is then certain because of the final words, “considering the outcome of their conduct.”
The word used is a rare one, being found elsewhere only in 1 Corinthians 10:13, and in Hebrews 11:15. It signifies “a way out” or “result.” The idea here then is that they are the type who are faithful unto death. Whether dead or not, the idea of being faithful even under the most dire circumstances is what appears to be what is referred to here. Knowing the character of such a person, the reader is implored to act in a similar manner.
Life application: There are a lot of people vying for our attention in the world – sports figures, politicians, movie stars, etc. We are told here that we should look to our preachers and teachers in the word when looking for a way of life to emulate.
If anyone hasn’t taken the time to notice, much of the Hollywood elite are the most messed up people on earth. Sports figures spend too much time working on their athletic skills, which fade with age, and not enough on considering the deeper questions of life. Politicians are generally the most self-serving bunch of people of all.
Instead, we need to look to those who preach the word of God and consider their way of life. What they preach, if preached properly, has eternal significance and is the only sure foundation we have. Along with this, we are reminded to imitate what we see in them.
It should be understood that we only imitate what is noble in them, not specifically the person himself. To imitate a fallen person – even a pastor – isn’t smart. Pastors have been known to fall too – in big ways. The only One we are to wholly imitate in person is Jesus, but for earthly examples of faith, we look to our pastors. In addition to this, Paul reminded Timothy that –
“Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, ‘The laborer is worthy of his wages.’” 1 Timothy 5:17, 18
He repeats his thought in Galatians 6:6 –
“Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.”
Don’t forget to share the good you have with your pastor. And again, learn to imitate his faith.
Lord, you have raised up God-fearing men to teach Your word and to direct us to You. Give us caring hearts to pray for them, to acknowledge them with our gifts, and to imitate their faith. Help us always to be faithful congregants in support of those who lead us and who in turn lead us to You! Amen.