February 6 - Hebrews 2, Genesis 46.28-47.31 and Psalm 37

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This Great Way of Being Saved

Hebrews 2 We must give our full attention to what we were told, so that we won't drift away. 2The message spoken by angels proved to be true, and all who disobeyed or rejected it were punished as they deserved. 3So if we refuse this great way of being saved, how can we hope to escape? The Lord himself was the first to tell about it, and people who heard the message proved to us that it was true. 4God himself showed that his message was true by working all kinds of powerful miracles and wonders. He also gave his Holy Spirit to anyone he chose to.

The One Who Leads Us To Be Saved

5We know that God did not put the future world under the power of angels. 6Somewhere in the Scriptures someone says to God,
"What makes you care about us humans?
Why are you concerned for weaklings such as we?
7You made us lower than the angels for a while.
Yet you have crowned us with glory and honor.
8And you have put everything under our power!"
God has put everything under our power and has not left anything out of our power. But we still don't see it all under our power. 9What we do see is Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels. Because of God's wonderful kindness, Jesus died for everyone. And now that Jesus has suffered and died, he is crowned with glory and honor!
10Everything belongs to God, and all things were created by his power. So God did the right thing when he made Jesus perfect by suffering, as Jesus led many of God's children to be saved and to share in his glory. 11Jesus and the people he makes holy all belong to the same family. That is why he isn't ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. 12He even said to God,
"I will tell them your name and sing your praises
when they come together to worship."
13He also said,
"I will trust God."
Then he said,
"Here I am with the children
God has given me."
14We are people of flesh and blood. That is why Jesus became one of us. He died to destroy the devil, who had power over death. 15But he also died to rescue all of us who live each day in fear of dying. 16Jesus clearly did not come to help angels, but he did come to help Abraham's descendants. 17He had to be one of us, so that he could serve God as our merciful and faithful high priest and sacrifice himself for the forgiveness of our sins. 18And now that Jesus has suffered and was tempted, he can help anyone else who is tempted.

Genesis 46 28Jacob had sent his son Judah ahead of him to ask Joseph to meet them in Goshen. 29So Joseph got in his chariot and went to meet his father. When they met, Joseph hugged his father around the neck and cried for a long time. 30Jacob said to Joseph, "Now that I have seen you and know you are still alive, I am ready to die."
31Then Joseph said to his brothers and to everyone who had come with them:
I must go and tell the king that you have arrived from Canaan. 32I will tell him that you are shepherds and that you have brought your sheep, goats, cattle, and everything else you own. 33The king will call you in and ask what you do for a living. 34When he does, be sure to say, "We are shepherds. Our families have always raised sheep." If you tell him this, he will let you settle in the region of Goshen.

Joseph wanted them to say this to the king, because the Egyptians did not like to be around anyone who raised sheep.
Genesis 47 1-2Joseph took five of his brothers to the king and told him, "My father and my brothers have come from Canaan. They have brought their sheep, goats, cattle, and everything else they own to the region of Goshen."
Then he introduced his brothers to the king, 3who asked them, "What do you do for a living?"
"Sir, we are shepherds," was their answer. "Our families have always raised sheep. 4But in our country all the pastures are dried up, and our sheep have no grass to eat. So we, your servants, have come here. Please let us live in the region of Goshen."
5The king said to Joseph, "It's good that your father and brothers have arrived. 6I will let them live anywhere they choose in the land of Egypt, but I suggest that they settle in Goshen, the best part of our land. I would also like for your finest shepherds to watch after my own sheep and goats."
7Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and introduced him to the king. Jacob gave the king his blessing, 8and the king asked him, "How old are you?"
9Jacob answered, "I have lived only a hundred thirty years, and I have had to move from place to place. My parents and my grandparents also had to move from place to place. But they lived much longer, and their life was not as hard as mine." 10Then Jacob gave the king his blessing once again and left. 11Joseph obeyed the king's orders and gave his father and brothers some of the best land in Egypt near the city of Rameses. 12Joseph also provided food for their families.

A Famine in Egypt

13The famine was bad everywhere in Egypt and Canaan, and the people were suffering terribly. 14So Joseph sold them the grain that had been stored up, and he put the money in the king's treasury. 15But when everyone had run out of money, the Egyptians came to Joseph and demanded, "Give us more grain! If you don't, we'll soon be dead, because our money's all gone."
16"If you don't have any money," Joseph answered, "give me your animals, and I'll let you have some grain." 17From then on, they brought him their horses and donkeys and their sheep and goats in exchange for grain.
Within a year Joseph had collected every animal in Egypt. 18Then the people came to him and said:
Sir, there's no way we can hide the truth from you. We are broke, and we don't have any more animals. We have nothing left except ourselves and our land. 19Don't let us starve and our land be ruined. If you'll give us grain to eat and seed to plant, we'll sell ourselves and our land to the king. We'll become his slaves.

20The famine became so severe that Joseph finally bought every piece of land in Egypt for the king 21and made everyone the king's slaves, 22except the priests. The king gave the priests a regular food allowance, so they did not have to sell their land. 23Then Joseph said to the people, "You and your land now belong to the king. I'm giving you seed to plant, 24but one-fifth of your crops must go to the king. You can keep the rest as seed or as food for your families."
25"Sir, you have saved our lives!" they answered. "We are glad to be slaves of the king." 26Then Joseph made a law that one-fifth of the harvest would always belong to the king. Only the priests did not lose their land.

Jacob Becomes an Old Man

27The people of Israel made their home in the land of Goshen, where they became prosperous and had large families. 28Jacob himself lived there for seventeen years, before dying at the age of one hundred forty-seven. 29When Jacob knew he did not have long to live, he called in Joseph and said, "If you really love me, you must make a solemn promise not to bury me in Egypt. 30Instead, bury me in the place where my ancestors are buried."
"I will do what you have asked," Joseph answered.
31"Will you give me your word?" Jacob asked.
"Yes, I will," Joseph promised. After this, Jacob bowed down and prayed at the head of his bed.

Psalm 37
[By David.]
Trust the LORD

1Don't be annoyed by anyone who does wrong,
and don't envy them.
2They will soon disappear like grass without rain.

3Trust the LORD and live right!
The land will be yours, and you will be safe.
4Do what the LORD wants,
and he will give you your heart's desire.

5Let the LORD lead you and trust him to help.
6Then it will be as clear as the noonday sun
that you were right.

7Be patient and trust the LORD.
Don't let it bother you when all goes well for those
who do sinful things.
8Don't be angry or furious. Anger can lead to sin.
9All sinners will disappear,
but if you trust the LORD, the land will be yours.

10Sinners will soon disappear, never to be found,
11but the poor will take the land
and enjoy a big harvest.

12Merciless people make plots against good people
and snarl like animals,
13but the Lord laughs and knows
their time is coming soon.
14The wicked kill with swords and shoot arrows
to murder the poor and the needy
and all who do right.
15But they will be killed by their own swords,
and their arrows will be broken.

16It is better to live right and be poor
than to be sinful and rich.
17The wicked will lose all of their power,
but the LORD gives strength
to everyone who is good.

18Those who obey the LORD are daily in his care,
and what he has given them will be theirs forever.
19They won't be in trouble when times are bad,
and they will have plenty when food is scarce.

20Wicked people are enemies of the LORD
and will vanish like smoke from a field on fire.

21An evil person borrows and never pays back;
a good person is generous and never stops giving.
22Everyone the LORD blesses will receive the land;
everyone the LORD curses will be destroyed.

23If you do what the LORD wants,
he will make certain each step you take is sure.
24The LORD will hold your hand,
and if you stumble, you still won't fall.

25As long as I can remember,
good people have never been left helpless,
and their children have never gone begging for food.
26They gladly give and lend,
and their children turn out good.

27If you stop sinning and start doing right,
you will keep living and be secure forever.
28The LORD loves justice,
and he won't ever desert his faithful people.
He always protects them,
but destroys the children of the wicked.
29God's people will own the land and live here forever.

30Words of wisdom come
when good people speak for justice.
31They remember God's teachings,
and they never take a wrong step.
32The wicked try to trap and kill good people,
33but the LORD is on their side,
and he will defend them when they are on trial.

34Trust the LORD and follow him.
He will give you the land,
and you will see the wicked destroyed.

35I have seen brutal people abuse others
and grow strong like trees in rich soil.
36Suddenly they disappeared!
I looked, but they were gone and no longer there.

37Think of the bright future waiting
for all the families of honest
and innocent and peace-loving people.
38But not a trace will be left
of the wicked or their families.

39The LORD protects his people,
and they can come to him in times of trouble.
40The LORD helps them and saves them from the wicked
because they run to him.

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This reading is from The Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version, copyright © American Bible Society, 1995.

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