The Christian Treatment of the Feeble
Hebrews 12:12, 13
Why lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;…

Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, etc.

I. THE LIABILITY TO FAINTNESS AND INFIRMITY IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. This condition is variously described in the text. "The hands which hang down," relaxed, enervated, incapable of vigorous or healthy action. "The feeble knees," tottering and paralyzed. "That which is lame" indicates, says Afford, "that part of the Church which was wavering between Christianity and Judaism." Christians are often faint and feeble in our own times. Piety may be sincere yet deficient in strength. A genuine Christian may suffer with lameness in some element of his character or some faculty of service. This feebleness may arise:

1. From the discipline to which we are subjected. We may faint when we are corrected by him (ver. 5). The first effect of discipline may be to discourage us, and this will probably lead to lack of earnestness and vigor in Christian life and service. Discipline misunderstood or resented may disable us for a time.

2. From the difficulties of our counsel.

3. From the neglect of the means by which hope and effort are sustained.


1. Cessation of Christian effort. Relaxed hands and tottering knees may cause the Christian runner to give up running, and to relapse into ignoble ease. Instead of imitating Gideon's heroic three hundred who were "faint, yet pursuing" their fleeing foes, the feeble may relinquish the pursuit altogether. Thus faintness may lead to failure.

2. Deviation from the Christian course. If the way be very rugged and tedious, requiring painful effort to walk in it, those who are lame may be turned out of it. The Christian race is easy when the runners are strong and the course is smooth. But oh, it is very difficult when the hearts are heavy, and the hands nerveless, and the limbs are lamed, and the way is rough and steep! Under such conditions it requires no little patience and heroism to keep moving onwards even at any pace; and the temptation to turn aside is very great.


1. To seek renewal of strength. "Lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees." How shall we do this?

(1) By believing prayer to God. "He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength," etc. (Isaiah 40:29-31).

(2) By the recollection of former mercies. Memory may be used as an inspiration of hope and courage. "Because thou hast been my Help, therefore under the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice."

(3) By consideration of the uses and benefits of our trials and discipline (cf. Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2, 3, 12).

(4) By contemplation of the great multitude who have reached the goal and won the prize (cf. ver. 1).

(5) By contemplation of "the prize of our high calling." Exercises such as these are calculated to inspire moral courage, and increase spiritual strength, and promote Christian progress.

2. To seek to keep each other in and help each other onward in the way. "Make straight paths Tot your feet, that that which is lame be not turned out of the way, but rather be healed." "The meaning seems to be," says Alford, "let your walk be so firm and so unanimous in the right direction, that a plain track and highway may be thereby established for those who accompany and follow you, to perceive and walk in (cf. Isaiah 35:8). If the whole congregation, by their united and consistent walk, trod a plain and beaten path for men's feet, these lame ones, though halting, would be easily able to keep in it, and, by keeping in the 'straight tracks,' would even acquire the habit of walking straight onward, and so be healed; but if the tracks were errant and confused, their erratic steps would deviate more and more, till at length they fell away out of the right way altogether."


1. Let not the faint yet sincere Christian yield to discouragement.

2. Let not the vigorous Christian despise the feeble and halting, but rather cheer and help them.

3. Let all Christians in the strength of God press onward to the goal and to the crown. - W.J.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;

WEB: Therefore, lift up the hands that hang down and the feeble knees,

Stimulating the Discouraged
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