Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. ... How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will. Hebrews 2:1, 3-4
Moored at Hokkaido, Japan, the 164-foot Japanese ship, the Ryou-Un Maru, was destined to be cut up and sent to the scrap heap.
That's when fate intervened in the form of last year's tsunami.
The violence of the waves broke the ship free of its moorings and sent her adrift. She has been adrift on an ever-so-slow voyage across the Pacific ever since. For those of you who are wondering what ever-so-slow means, in this case, in recent weeks, it means the ship has been moving forward at the rate of a mile a day.
Of course, a drifting ship is not a good thing. When a drifting ship sneaks into the crowded sea lanes, there is always the danger of collision. If the drifter goes aground and breaks up, there is an oil spill to contend with. Nobody knew how much diesel fuel was still left on the Ryuo-Un Maru, but her tanks could hold up to 2,000 gallons of the black stuff. That could be a mess.
All of this explains why a U.S. Coast Guard cutter put an end to the ship's drifting. At first, the U.S. vessel peppered the Ryuo-Un Maru with 25 mm shells. Then they switched to the more powerful 50 mm. It took about four hours for the vessel to go down in 6,000-feet-deep water and 180 miles from the Alaskan coast.
Nope, aimless drifting is not a good thing: not for a ship, not for a Christian.
That's the warning the writer of the book of Hebrews was giving when he wrote: "we must pay much closer attention to what we've heard lest we drift away."
It makes little difference whether you lived then or now, there are many voices trying to drown out the true redemption message the Lord has given us in the life, suffering, murder and resurrection of His Son.
You're heard those voices. There are those who say, "Jesus' substitution for us never happened and the Bible is a myth." There are others who say, "Some of it happened, but we can't be sure what is truth and what is fiction. And, of course, there are those who say, "It doesn't make any difference what you believe as long as you sincerely believe in something."
To any and all who would undermine Scriptural truth, our Daily Devotion passage counters with this encouraging reminder: look closely and don't drift. Jesus has risen and salvation's work is done. Pay attention and believe: by faith in the risen Redeemer we are saved.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord there are many who would love to see Christians set adrift from You. Today I pray You will keep us safely anchored in the truth of Scripture and the factual story of salvation begun and completed by our Savior. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries