February 10 - Hebrews 7, Exodus 3-4 and Psalm 41
The Priest MelchizedekHebrews 7 This Melchizedek was king of Salem and a priest of the Most High God. As Abraham was coming back from the battle in which he defeated the four kings, Melchizedek met him and blessed him, 2and Abraham gave him one tenth of all he had taken. (The first meaning of Melchizedek's name is "King of Righteousness"; and because he was king of Salem, his name also means "King of Peace.") 3There is no record of Melchizedek's father or mother or of any of his ancestors; no record of his birth or of his death. He is like the Son of God; he remains a priest forever.
4You see, then, how great he was. Abraham, our famous ancestor, gave him one tenth of all he got in the battle. 5And those descendants of Levi who are priests are commanded by the Law to collect one tenth from the people of Israel, that is, from their own people, even though they are also descendants of Abraham. 6Melchizedek was not descended from Levi, but he collected one tenth from Abraham and blessed him, the man who received God's promises. 7There is no doubt that the one who blesses is greater than the one who is blessed. 8In the case of the priests the tenth is collected by men who die; but as for Melchizedek the tenth was collected by one who lives, as the scripture says. 9And, so to speak, when Abraham paid the tenth, Levi (whose descendants collect the tenth) also paid it. 10For Levi had not yet been born, but was, so to speak, in the body of his ancestor Abraham when Melchizedek met him.
11It was on the basis of the levitical priesthood that the Law was given to the people of Israel. Now, if the work of the levitical priests had been perfect, there would have been no need for a different kind of priest to appear, one who is in the priestly order of Melchizedek, not of Aaron. 12For when the priesthood is changed, there also has to be a change in the law. 13And our Lord, of whom these things are said, belonged to a different tribe, and no member of his tribe ever served as a priest. 14It is well known that he was born a member of the tribe of Judah; and Moses did not mention this tribe when he spoke of priests.
Another Priest, like Melchizedek15The matter becomes even plainer; a different priest has appeared, who is like Melchizedek. 16He was made a priest, not by human rules and regulations, but through the power of a life which has no end. 17For the scripture says, "You will be a priest forever, in the priestly order of Melchizedek." 18The old rule, then, is set aside, because it was weak and useless. 19For the Law of Moses could not make anything perfect. And now a better hope has been provided through which we come near to God.
20In addition, there is also God's vow. There was no such vow when the others were made priests. 21But Jesus became a priest by means of a vow when God said to him,
"The Lord has made a solemn promise
and will not take it back:
'You will be a priest forever.'"
22This difference, then, also makes Jesus the guarantee of a better covenant.
23There is another difference: there were many of those other priests, because they died and could not continue their work. 24But Jesus lives on forever, and his work as priest does not pass on to someone else. 25And so he is able, now and always, to save those who come to God through him, because he lives forever to plead with God for them.
26Jesus, then, is the High Priest that meets our needs. He is holy; he has no fault or sin in him; he has been set apart from sinners and raised above the heavens. 27He is not like other high priests; he does not need to offer sacrifices every day for his own sins first and then for the sins of the people. He offered one sacrifice, once and for all, when he offered himself. 28The Law of Moses appoints men who are imperfect to be high priests; but God's promise made with the vow, which came later than the Law, appoints the Son, who has been made perfect forever.
God Calls MosesExodus 3 One day while Moses was taking care of the sheep and goats of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, he led the flock across the desert and came to Sinai, the holy mountain. 2There the angel of the LORD appeared to him as a flame coming from the middle of a bush. Moses saw that the bush was on fire but that it was not burning up. 3"This is strange," he thought. "Why isn't the bush burning up? I will go closer and see."
4When the LORD saw that Moses was coming closer, he called to him from the middle of the bush and said, "Moses! Moses!"
He answered, "Yes, here I am."
5God said, "Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals, because you are standing on holy ground. 6I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." So Moses covered his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
7Then the LORD said, "I have seen how cruelly my people are being treated in Egypt; I have heard them cry out to be rescued from their slave drivers. I know all about their sufferings, 8and so I have come down to rescue them from the Egyptians and to bring them out of Egypt to a spacious land, one which is rich and fertile and in which the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites now live. 9I have indeed heard the cry of my people, and I see how the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10Now I am sending you to the king of Egypt so that you can lead my people out of his country."
11But Moses said to God, "I am nobody. How can I go to the king and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"
12God answered, "I will be with you, and when you bring the people out of Egypt, you will worship me on this mountain. That will be the proof that I have sent you."
13But Moses replied, "When I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your ancestors sent me to you,' they will ask me, 'What is his name?' So what can I tell them?"
14God said, "I am who I am. You must tell them: 'The one who is called I AM has sent me to you.' 15Tell the Israelites that I, the LORD, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, have sent you to them. This is my name forever; this is what all future generations are to call me. 16Go and gather the leaders of Israel together and tell them that I, the LORD, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, appeared to you. Tell them that I have come to them and have seen what the Egyptians are doing to them. 17I have decided that I will bring them out of Egypt, where they are being treated cruelly, and will take them to a rich and fertile land--the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
18"My people will listen to what you say to them. Then you must go with the leaders of Israel to the king of Egypt and say to him, 'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has revealed himself to us. Now allow us to travel three days into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD, our God.' 19I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless he is forced to do so. 20But I will use my power and will punish Egypt by doing terrifying things there. After that he will let you go.
21"I will make the Egyptians respect you so that when my people leave, they will not go empty-handed. 22Every Israelite woman will go to her Egyptian neighbors and to any Egyptian woman living in her house and will ask for clothing and for gold and silver jewelry. The Israelites will put these things on their sons and daughters and carry away the wealth of the Egyptians."
God Gives Moses Miraculous PowerExodus 4 Then Moses answered the LORD, "But suppose the Israelites do not believe me and will not listen to what I say. What shall I do if they say that you did not appear to me?"
2So the LORD asked him, "What are you holding?"
"A walking stick," he answered.
3The LORD said, "Throw it on the ground." When Moses threw it down, it turned into a snake, and he ran away from it. 4Then the LORD said to Moses, "Reach down and pick it up by the tail." So Moses reached down and caught it, and it became a walking stick again. 5The LORD said, "Do this to prove to the Israelites that the LORD, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has appeared to you."
6The LORD spoke to Moses again, "Put your hand inside your robe." Moses obeyed; and when he took his hand out, it was diseased, covered with white spots, like snow. 7Then the LORD said, "Put your hand inside your robe again." He did so, and when he took it out this time, it was healthy, just like the rest of his body. 8The LORD said, "If they will not believe you or be convinced by the first miracle, then this one will convince them. 9If in spite of these two miracles they still will not believe you, and if they refuse to listen to what you say, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the ground. The water will turn into blood."
10But Moses said, "No, LORD, don't send me. I have never been a good speaker, and I haven't become one since you began to speak to me. I am a poor speaker, slow and hesitant."
11The LORD said to him, "Who gives man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or dumb? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? It is I, the LORD. 12Now, go! I will help you to speak, and I will tell you what to say."
13But Moses answered, "No, Lord, please send someone else."
14At this the LORD became angry with Moses and said, "What about your brother Aaron, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. In fact, he is now coming to meet you and will be glad to see you. 15You can speak to him and tell him what to say. I will help both of you to speak, and I will tell you both what to do. 16He will be your spokesman and speak to the people for you. Then you will be like God, telling him what to say. 17Take this walking stick with you; for with it you will perform miracles."
Moses Returns to Egypt18Then Moses went back to Jethro, his father-in-law, and said to him, "Please let me go back to my relatives in Egypt to see if they are still alive." Jethro agreed and told him good-bye.
19While Moses was still in Midian, the LORD said to him, "Go back to Egypt, for all those who wanted to kill you are dead." 20So Moses took his wife and his sons, put them on a donkey, and set out with them for Egypt, carrying the walking stick that God had told him to take.
21Again the LORD said to Moses, "Now that you are going back to Egypt, be sure to perform before the king all the miracles which I have given you the power to do. But I will make the king stubborn, and he will not let the people go. 22Then you must tell him that I, the LORD, say, 'Israel is my first-born son. 23I told you to let my son go, so that he might worship me, but you refused. Now I am going to kill your first-born son.'"
24At a camping place on the way to Egypt, the LORD met Moses and tried to kill him. 25-26Then Zipporah, his wife, took a sharp stone, cut off the foreskin of her son, and touched Moses' feet with it. Because of the rite of circumcision she said to Moses, "You are a husband of blood to me." And so the LORD spared Moses' life.
27Meanwhile the LORD had said to Aaron, "Go into the desert to meet Moses." So he went to meet him at the holy mountain; and when he met him, he kissed him. 28Then Moses told Aaron everything that the LORD had said when he told him to return to Egypt; he also told him about the miracles which the LORD had ordered him to perform. 29So Moses and Aaron went to Egypt and gathered all the Israelite leaders together. 30Aaron told them everything that the LORD had said to Moses, and then Moses performed all the miracles in front of the people. 31They believed, and when they heard that the LORD had come to them and had seen how they were being treated cruelly, they bowed down and worshiped.
A Prayer in SicknessPsalm 41 Happy are those who are concerned for the poor;
the LORD will help them when they are in trouble.
2The LORD will protect them and preserve their lives;
he will make them happy in the land;
he will not abandon them to the power of their enemies.
3The LORD will help them when they are sick
and will restore them to health.
4I said, "I have sinned against you, LORD;
be merciful to me and heal me."
5My enemies say cruel things about me.
They want me to die and be forgotten.
6Those who come to see me are not sincere;
they gather bad news about me
and then go out and tell it everywhere.
7All who hate me whisper to each other about me,
they imagine the worst about me.
8They say, "He is fatally ill;
he will never leave his bed again."
9Even my best friend, the one I trusted most,
the one who shared my food,
has turned against me.
10Be merciful to me, LORD, and restore my health,
and I will pay my enemies back.
11They will not triumph over me,
and I will know that you are pleased with me.
12You will help me, because I do what is right;
you will keep me in your presence forever.
13Praise the LORD, the God of Israel!
Praise him now and forever!
This reading is from The Holy
Bible, Today's English Version, Second Edition copyright © American
Bible Society, 1992;
Old Testament copyright © American Bible Society, 1976, 1992; New Testament © American Bible Society, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1992.
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