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Hebrews 4:14-16; Hebrews 5; Hebrews 6:1-12; Genesis 49; Genesis 50; Psalm 39

Hebrews 4:14-16

Our Great High Priest

14 Therefore since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens-Jesus the Son of God-let us hold fast to the confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.

Hebrews 5

The Messiah, a High Priest

1 For every high priest taken from men is appointed in service to God for the people, to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness. 3 Because of this, he must make a sin offering for himself as well as for the people. 4 No one takes this honor on himself; instead, a person is called by God, just as Aaron was. 5 In the same way, the Messiah did not exalt Himself to become a high priest, but the One who said to Him, You are My Son; today I have become Your Father, 6 also said in another passage, You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. 7 During His earthly life, He offered prayers and appeals, with loud cries and tears, to the One who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence. 8 Though a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered. 9 After He was perfected, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, 10 and He was declared by God a high priest "in the order of Melchizedek."

The Problem of Immaturity

11 We have a great deal to say about this, and it's difficult to explain, since you have become slow to understand. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of God's revelation. You need milk, not solid food. 13 Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature-for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil.

Hebrews 6:1-12

Warning against Regression

1 Therefore, leaving the elementary message about the Messiah, let us go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, faith in God, 2 teaching about ritual washings, laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And we will do this if God permits. 4 For it is impossible to renew to repentance those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, became companions with the Holy Spirit, 5 tasted God's good word and the powers of the coming age, 6 and who have fallen away, because, to their own harm, they are recrucifying the Son of God and holding Him up to contempt. 7 For ground that has drunk the rain that has often fallen on it, and that produces vegetation useful to those it is cultivated for, receives a blessing from God. 8 But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is worthless and about to be cursed, and will be burned at the end. 9 Even though we are speaking this way, dear friends, in your case we are confident of the better things connected with salvation. 10 For God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you showed for His name when you served the saints-and you continue to serve them. 11 Now we want each of you to demonstrate the same diligence for the final realization of your hope, 12 so that you won't become lazy, but imitators of those who inherit the promises through faith and perseverance.

Genesis 49

Jacob's Last Words

1 Then Jacob called his sons and said, "Gather around, and I will tell you what will happen to you in the days to come. 2 Come together and listen, sons of Jacob; listen to your father Israel: 3 Reuben, you are my firstborn, my strength and the firstfruits of my virility, excelling in prominence, excelling in power. 4 Turbulent as water, you will no longer excel, because you got into your father's bed and you defiled it-he got into my bed. 5 Simeon and Levi are brothers; their knives are vicious weapons. 6 May I never enter their council; may I never join their assembly. For in their anger they kill men, and on a whim they hamstring oxen. 7 Their anger is cursed, for it is strong, and their fury, for it is cruel! I will disperse them throughout Jacob and scatter them throughout Israel. 8 Judah, your brothers will praise you. Your hand will be on the necks of your enemies; your father's sons will bow down to you. 9 Judah is a young lion- my son, you return from the kill- he crouches; he lies down like a lion and like a lioness-who wants to rouse him? 10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, or the staff from between his feet, until He whose right it is comes and the obedience of the peoples belongs to Him. 11 He ties his donkey to a vine, and the colt of his donkey to the choice vine. He washes his clothes in wine, and his robes in the blood of grapes. 12 His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth are whiter than milk. 13 Zebulun will live by the seashore and will be a harbor for ships, and his territory will be next to Sidon. 14 Issachar is a strong donkey lying down between the saddlebags. 15 He saw that his resting place was good and that the land was pleasant, so he leaned his shoulder to bear a load and became a forced laborer. 16 Dan will judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel. 17 He will be a snake by the road, a viper beside the path, that bites the horses' heels so that its rider falls backwards. 18 I wait for Your salvation, Lord. 19 Gad will be attacked by [marauding] bands, but he will attack their heels. 20 Asher's food will be rich, and he will produce royal delicacies. 21 Naphtali is a doe set free that bears beautiful fawns. 22 Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine beside a spring; its branches climb over the wall. 23 The archers attacked him, shot at him, and were hostile toward him. 24 Yet his bow remained steady, and his strong arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, by the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, 25 by the God of your father who helps you, and by the Almighty who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies below, and blessings of the breasts and the womb. 26 The blessings of your father excel the blessings of my ancestors and the bounty of the eternal hills. May they rest on the head of Joseph, on the crown of the prince of his brothers. 27 Benjamin is a wolf; he tears [his prey]. In the morning he devours the prey, and in the evening he divides the plunder." 28 These are the tribes of Israel, 12 in all, and this was what their father said to them. He blessed them, and he blessed each one with a suitable blessing.

Jacob's Burial Instructions

29 Then he commanded them: "I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite. 30 The cave is in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre, in the land of Canaan. This is the field Abraham purchased from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site. 31 Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried there, Isaac and his wife Rebekah are buried there, and I buried Leah there. 32 The field and the cave in it [were purchased] from the Hittites." 33 When Jacob had finished instructing his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and died. He was gathered to his people.

Genesis 50

Jacob's Burial

1 Then Joseph, leaning over his father's face, wept and kissed him. 2 He commanded his servants who were physicians to embalm his father. So they embalmed Israel. 3 They took 40 days to complete this, for embalming takes that long, and the Egyptians mourned for him 70 days. 4 When the days of mourning were over, Joseph said to Pharaoh's household, "If I have found favor with you, please tell Pharaoh that 5 my father made me take an oath, saying, 'I am about to die. You must bury me there in the tomb that I hewed out for myself in the land of Canaan.' Now let me go and bury my father. Then I will return." 6 So Pharaoh said, "Go and bury your father in keeping with your oath." 7 Then Joseph went to bury his father, and all Pharaoh's servants, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt went with him, 8 along with all Joseph's household, his brothers, and his father's household. Only their children, their sheep, and their cattle were left in the land of Goshen. 9 Horses and chariots went up with him; it was a very impressive procession. 10 When they reached the threshing floor of Atad, which is across the Jordan, they lamented and wept loudly, and Joseph mourned seven days for his father. 11 When the Canaanite inhabitants of the land saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, "This is a solemn mourning on the part of the Egyptians." Therefore the place is named Abel-mizraim. It is across the Jordan. 12 So Jacob's sons did for him what he had commanded them. 13 They carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave at Machpelah in the field near Mamre, which Abraham had purchased as a burial site from Ephron the Hittite. 14 After Joseph buried his father, he returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone with him to bury his father.

Joseph's Kindness

15 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said to one another, "If Joseph is holding a grudge against us, he will certainly repay us for all the wrong we caused him." 16 So they sent this message to Joseph, "Before he died your father gave a command: 17 'Say this to Joseph: Please forgive your brothers' transgression and their sin-the wrong they caused you.' Therefore, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father." Joseph wept when their message came to him. 18 Then his brothers also came to him, bowed down before him, and said, "We are your slaves!" 19 But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result-the survival of many people. 21 Therefore don't be afraid. I will take care of you and your little ones." And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

Joseph's Death

22 Joseph and his father's household remained in Egypt. Joseph lived 110 years. 23 He saw Ephraim's sons to the third generation; the sons of Manasseh's son Machir were recognized by Joseph. 24 Joseph said to his brothers, "I am about to die, but God will certainly come to your aid and bring you up from this land to the land He promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." 25 So Joseph made the Israelites take an oath: "When God comes to your aid, you are to carry my bones up from here." 26 Joseph died at the age of 110. They embalmed him and placed him in a coffin in Egypt.

Psalm 39

The Fleeting Nature of Life

For the choir director, for Jeduthun. A Davidic psalm.

1 I said, "I will guard my ways so that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth with a muzzle as long as the wicked are in my presence." 2 I was speechless and quiet; I kept silent, even from [speaking] good, and my pain intensified. 3 My heart grew hot within me; as I mused, a fire burned. I spoke with my tongue: 4 "Lord, reveal to me the end of my life and the number of my days. Let me know how transitory I am. 5 You, indeed, have made my days short in length, and my life span as nothing in Your sight. Yes, every mortal man is only a vapor. Selah 6 Certainly, man walks about like a mere shadow. Indeed, they frantically rush around in vain, gathering possessions without knowing who will get them. 7 "Now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. 8 Deliver me from all my transgressions; do not make me the taunt of fools. 9 I am speechless; I do not open my mouth because of what You have done. 10 Remove Your torment from me; I fade away because of the force of Your hand. 11 You discipline a man with punishment for sin, consuming like a moth what is precious to him; every man is a mere vapor. Selah 12 "Hear my prayer, Lord, and listen to my cry for help; do not be silent at my tears. For I am a foreigner residing with You, a sojourner like all my fathers. 13 Turn Your angry gaze from me so that I may be cheered up before I die and am gone."
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