This is a strange saying and the original saying was “the proof of the pudding was in the eating” but back then ‘pudding’ was a type of stuffed-sausage. Anyway, you got me on a ramble this morning. Let me get back to the point. The point is that once you taste the pudding, you know if it is good or not. I remember the first time I had Menudo after just moving to San Antonio, Texas. Menudo is a soup with cow intestine and when you look at it, you just know what it is. The first time I was handed a bowl of Menudo and they told me what it was, my stomach turned. But then I took a bite…delicioso!!! Now, when someone hands me a bowl of Menudo, my mouth starts watering! Once you know that something is good, it’s good.
In today’s verse, we are encouraged to have unswerving faith.
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
We are called to do this because it is not easy. Hope is less than faith. Faith is believing that God will do something. Hope is just knowing that He is able and if He chooses, He will do something. It is hard to hold on to hope. And if you are struggling with hope today, I have one word for you…Israel.
Let me splain…In the book of Hebrews, before we are called to this rock-solid hope, we are reminded that we serve the great high priest, Jesus, who offered himself in our place so that we would be able to enter into the presence of God anytime, anywhere. This is a reference to the Old Testament. Each year, the Lord commanded that an offering be made for the sins of the nation of Israel. Only the high priest could make this offering. It was called the Atonement offering. He would take the blood of the sacrifice into a room called the Holy of Holies where the Spirit of the Lord resided. Only the High Priest could enter this room and only once a year. But this offering was to make atonement or procure forgiveness for the nation of Israel for all of their sin that year. And because the Lord accepted this offering, the nation of Israel did not receive the penalty for sin which was death.
But I want you to see how faithful the Lord has been. Even though the nation of Israel no longer offers these as an official act of the nation, God has been faithful. The nation of Israel has survived so many armies and nations that have attacked them and still God is keeping His promise to protect them, bring them back to their nation, and one day, help them return to Him.
The nation of Israel lost their land shortly after King Solomon died. They did not have any land for centuries. How many nations could have survived without a homeland for that long? Yet they did. At the end of World War I, the Jews were given back their land though it belonged to the United Kingdom. Nazi Germany then tried to annihilate them exterminating 6 million Jews. But then, in 1948, after World War II, Israel was again recognized at their own nation. From about 722BC to 1948, they had no land, but God never forgot them. Since then, all of these massive nations surrounding Israel have tried to destroy them. Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon have all on multiple occasions attempted to overthrow the nation. Yet, as small as Israel is, it is proved stronger than them all. They have had the backing of the US. The book of Revelation speaks of this protection even into the seven years of tribulation what some speculate is the US protecting them like on the wings of eagles (Revelation 12:14).
Ok, so there is your history lesson, but why am I telling you this? I want you to see that God has been faithful to Israel even when Israel was not faithful to God. The atonement sacrifice is God’s act of faithfulness to an unfaithful people. God established this offering and commanded it to happen each year.
But then Jesus came as our High Priest and our atonement sacrifice. The Bible says that the Holy of Holies in the Old Testament temple represented Heaven and the presence of God. On the day Christ died, the curtain that kept everyone out of this room but the high priest once a year was torn open so that anyone could enter. And this room also represents Heaven so that when Christ returned to Heaven, He entered into the Heavenly Holy of Holies giving believers a home in Heaven. The hope we have is that we have access to God by the Holy Spirit right now. And we have the hope of Heaven one day. And if God has been so faithful to the nation of Israel because of His promise even when they didn’t do their part, how much more certain can we be that since Jesus died on the cross for our sins, God will always be there for us. He will never leave us nor forsake us. Even when we sin, He forgives. When we are unfaithful, He remains faithful to His promises.
We look at Israel and we can say that we have tasted the faithfulness of God and we have seen it with our own eyes. We have tasted His goodness. If God can protect and keep together the nation of Israel with all it has been through, can He not keep together my life and yours? Will He not protect us from the enemy and help us overcome in every battle. We don’t battle nations, but spiritual attacks to move us away from this hope we have, but through it all we can know that we know and hold unswervingly to the hope we have in Jesus Christ. The proof is in the pudding.