Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:16-20
I love the nautical image used here. I grew up on a lake. Whether swimming or boating, the water was my life during the summer. Typical for a kid, I thought boats were only useful for flying across the water at full speed. My parents usually obliged me, so I rarely saw an anchor used. On the rare occasion we made use of one, I was always impressed, even as a young boy, that a device weighing less than ten pounds could hold something the size of a boat in place.
I occasionally have to travel to a naval base for my job. The base in question has a small field next to the main road which is filled with excess equipment, including several of the navy’s anchors. They have no resemblance to the anchor in my family’s boat. They easily outsize my rental car as I pass by. I can only imagine what it must be like from the perspective of the ocean floor to see such a thing descend from the surface. As big as these anchors are though, they are nothing compared to the size of the ship they lock into place. Yet, lock in place they do. Tides run in and out. Wind gusts of great strength and waves of great size can buffet the ship from all directions. Yet, those aboard can rest confident that their position remains unchanged. Properly set into the ocean bed, an anchor can immobilize ships large enough to rate their own zip codes.
Even the most impressive anchor is merely a tool though; in and of itself it is of no value. Stowed on the ship, it accomplishes nothing. Dropped into the water, it is useless if the chain to which it is attached fails to extend to the floor beneath. Settled into soft sand, it might as well have been left at port. It is effective only when it grabs hold of the earth below. The earth is the steady object which the ship attaches too via the anchor.
Ships are made to float untethered, but I wasn’t; I’m not meant to drift freely through life. I need something greater than myself to use as a stable point of reference, but what can I anchor to? It’s increasingly difficult to find something to place my trust in. Respected leaders routinely fail us. Esteemed pastors fall. Friends and even family let us down. Time-honored beliefs and institutions can dissolve within a generation. Nations and empires, and thus the security of their citizens, can fall in a night. We are sometimes given traumatic reminders that we can’t even count on the stability of the earth itself. No, anchoring my hopes to any of these is as effective as a great ship anchoring to shifting sand.
Thankfully, I have an eternal God to anchor to; A God so great that He can swear on nothing higher than Himself. Hebrews 6 shows me that God has provided my soul an anchor, and that anchor is nothing less than the hope of God’s promises set before us. Its immeasurable value comes from the fact that it is anchored behind the curtain of the Holy of Holies, to the very character of God!
I thank God for His unchanging permanence. I praise Him for revealing to us the unchanging nature of His purpose. I rejoice in Him for making me infinitely less than He is. I love Him for instilling within me a deep hope in His promises, and for anchoring that hope to nothing less than His Holy character.
My present circumstances are uncertain. My future is assured. I have an anchor for my soul, and it’s invincibly bound to my God!