Sunday, October 29, 2023

Chiasm and Heb. 4:16

What do the following have in common?

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going."

"God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good."

"The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath."

"Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."

Answer: They all involve chiasm. A chiasm is a common literary device in which ideas are presented and then repeated in a mirror-like structure. The term "chiasm" is derived from the Greek letter chi, which looks like the English letter X. 

My Bible time this morning was in Heb. 4:14-16, where I noticed this chiastic structure in verse 16.

Here "mercy" and "grace" are tied together very closely and form the focus of the verse. I might render this as: " ... that we might receive mercy, and grace we might find, in time of need." What an encouragement! Each of us needs mercy for past failures and grace for present and future work. And get this -- both are gifts from God. How do you get mercy? You "take" it. How do you get grace? You "find" it by seeking it. Our needs may be material, physical, spiritual, emotional, financial, relational, etc. Whatever they are, God stands ready to help. 

So as we read Hebrews, keep in mind that God is a very present help in time of need. This side of heaven, there is nothing sweeter than to know that he truly cares about us.