15, February 2016

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Today’s Soulfood Readings

Hebrews 1–4

1:1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

For to which of the angels did God ever say,

  “You are my Son,
    today I have begotten you”?

Or again,

  “I will be to him a father,
    and he shall be to me a son”?

And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,

  “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

Of the angels he says,

  “He makes his angels winds,
    and his ministers a flame of fire.”

But of the Son he says,

  “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
    the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
  You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
  therefore God, your God, has anointed you
    with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

10 And,

  “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
    and the heavens are the work of your hands;
11   they will perish, but you remain;
    they will all wear out like a garment,
12   like a robe you will roll them up,
    like a garment they will be changed.
  But you are the same,
    and your years will have no end.”

13 And to which of the angels has he ever said,

  “Sit at my right hand
    until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?

14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

2:1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 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.

For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere,

  “What is man, that you are mindful of him,
    or the son of man, that you care for him?
  You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
    you have crowned him with glory and honor,
    putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying,

  “I will tell of your name to my brothers;
    in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”

13 And again,

  “I will put my trust in him.”

And again,

  “Behold, I and the children God has given me.”

14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

3:1 Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,

  “Today, if you hear his voice,
  do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
    on the day of testing in the wilderness,
  where your fathers put me to the test
    and saw my works for forty years.
10   Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
  and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
    they have not known my ways.’
11   As I swore in my wrath,
    ‘They shall not enter my rest.’”

12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said,

  “Today, if you hear his voice,
  do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,

  “As I swore in my wrath,
  ‘They shall not enter my rest,’”

although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this passage he said,

  “They shall not enter my rest.”

Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,

  “Today, if you hear his voice,
  do not harden your hearts.”

For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Luke 10:25–37

25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

Psalm 145:14–21

14   The LORD upholds all who are falling
    and raises up all who are bowed down.
15   The eyes of all look to you,
    and you give them their food in due season.
16   You open your hand;
    you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17   The LORD is righteous in all his ways
    and kind in all his works.
18   The LORD is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.
19   He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
    he also hears their cry and saves them.
20   The LORD preserves all who love him,
    but all the wicked he will destroy.
21   My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD,
    and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

Proverbs 4:23–24

23   Keep your heart with all vigilance,
    for from it flow the springs of life.
24   Put away from you crooked speech,
    and put devious talk far from you.

15, February 2016

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