Devotional Reading for November 13, 2022

Hebrews 10:1-18

This passage is a commentary on Paul’s words in Galatians: “Thus the law had become our guardian until Christ, so that we could be declared righteous by faith” (3:24). God desires obedience (Psalm 40:6), but we continually disobey. The law reveals what we do wrong, and we stand guilty before God. The sacrificial system was a way to temporarily cover sin, but we need a permanent solution. Jesus Christ offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for sin (Psalm 40:7-8), ascended to heaven, and we are waiting for His glorious return (where all His enemies will be defeated). His perfect sacrifice makes it possible for us to be forgiven, holy, and righteous!

Psalm 110 “Here is the LORD’s proclamation to my lord: ‘Sit down at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool’ The LORD extends your dominion from Zion. Rule in the midst of your enemies. Your people willingly follow you when you go into battle. On the holy hills at sunrise the dew of your youth belongs to you. The LORD makes this promise on oath and will not revoke it: ‘You are an eternal priest after the pattern of Melchizedek.’ O LORD, at your right hand he strikes down kings in the day he unleashes his anger. He executes judgment against the nations. He fills the valleys with corpses; he shatters their heads over the vast battlefield. From the stream along the road he drinks; then he lifts up his head.

Devotional Reading for November 12, 2022

Hebrews 9

(1-10) There are two emphases in these verses: (1) the need for the priests to continually offer sacrifices, and (2) the inability of those sacrifices to permanently take care of sin.

(11-14) In contrast, Christ entered the heavenly sanctuary and offered a single sacrifice for eternal redemption! His sacrifice can “purify our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.

(15-28) Sin is deadly and demands a serious consequence. That’s why “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” It was true in the old covenant, and it’s true in the new. Christ died to initiate the new covenant, and presented His blood in the heavenly sanctuary so that we could have an eternal inheritance. It only needed to be done once, which should give us pause when certain denominations claim to be perpetuating His sacrifice through the Lord’s Supper. His sacrifice took care of our sin, and with His return we’ll enter into our eternal reward!

For worship:

Devotional Reading for November 11, 2022

Hebrews 8

We are so tied to this life and this earth, but is there something else that is eternal and true? Is it possible that what we experience here is only a shadow of reality, and our true reality has more to do with the spiritual? Perhaps the Jewish sanctuary teaches us an important lesson, because it is a sketch of the true sanctuary in heaven. Jesus entered that heavenly sanctuary to offer himself as the sacrifice for sins. He has a superior ministry over a better covenant with better promises, just as was promised:

Jeremiah 31:31-34 “‘Indeed, a time is coming,’ says the LORD, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. It will not be like the old covenant that I made with their ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt. For they violated that covenant, even though I was like a faithful husband to them,’ says the LORD. ‘But I will make a new covenant with the whole nation of Israel after I plant them back in the land,’ says the LORD. ‘I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts and minds. I will be their God and they will be my people. People will no longer need to teach their neighbors and relatives to know me. For all of them, from the least important to the most important, will know me,’ says the LORD. ‘For I will forgive their sin and will no longer call to mind the wrong they have done.'”

Praise God because we have a better covenant, a better high priest, and better home waiting for us!

Devotional Reading for November 10, 2022

Hebrews 7

Using Melchizedek, the author of Hebrews shows that Jesus’ priesthood is superior to that of the Leviticus priesthood.

  • Melchizedek was a superior priest. Since Abraham paid a tithe to him, it was like the entire Levitical priesthood paid tithes to him. Since he just appears (Genesis 14:18-20), he has no beginning, no end, and no genealogy. He was both a king of righteousness and peace, as well as a priest. That makes him a foreshadowing (type) of the coming eternal priest-king, Jesus, and explains the use of Psalm 110:4 (“you are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek”).
  • Jesus is from a different tribe than the priests. He is from the tribe of Judah.
  • Jesus is the author of a “better covenant!” The Levitical priesthood was temporary, because the law and sacrifices were temporary. They couldn’t bring perfection.
  • Jesus doesn’t offer up the blood of bulls and goats for sacrifices, but offers up Himself.
  • He can do this because He is holy, innocent, undefiled, and sinless.
  • And His sacrifice is “once for all.” It doesn’t have to be repeated.
  • He is the perfect, exalted Son, forever!

Devotional Reading for November 9, 2022

Hebrews 6

(1-12) The author of Hebrews knows that in order for faith to mature, his readers will have to move beyond the basic principles of salvation and baptism. Although there are many disagreements as to what exactly Paul is saying in 6:4-7, I think that the best understanding is that Paul is addressing those within the congregation who have not yet believed. They participated in the community, experienced the preaching of the Word, and observed the presence of the Spirit at work around them. Even after all that, they refused to believe. They never truly embraced the gospel and displayed genuine faith, love, and service. If they had, then they would have persisted and become “imitators of those who through faith and perseverance inherit the promises.” While there are many other understandings of this passage (believers losing their faith, believers losing rewards, believers being warned by the use of hypotheticals), the argument itself seems geared to those who are genuine believers and will stay that way: “But in your case, dear friends, even though we speak like this we are convinced of better things relating to salvation.” The challenge for us is the same as the challenge to them: to grow and mature, and to make sure that we move from milk to solid food (5:12)!

(13-20) The Jews would argue about the significance of oaths, and which oaths meant more because of what you were swearing them by (Matthew 23:16-22). What can God swear by that is greater than Himself? He can’t lie. He doesn’t change. He made a promise to Abraham, and He makes a promise to us through Jesus Christ. Jesus went behind the veil and offered Himself as the eternal sacrifice for our sins (Hebrews 9:6-7). He is “a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek” (which we’ll see explained tomorrow). Our perseverance and growth are signs that God is with us, and the guarantee that we will inherit His promises!

Devotional Reading for November 8, 2022

Hebrews 5

If a high priest sinned, he was required to bring a sin offering to the temple (Leviticus 4:3-12). He could relate to the people because he was subject to the same frailties they were, even though he was called by God. Jesus was also called by God to be our high priest, as Psalm 110:4 shows. Even though He Himself was without sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), He struggled and suffered and wept and prayed, which is why He can relate to us (Hebrews 4:15).

Luke 22:39-46 “Then Jesus went out and made his way, as he customarily did, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. When he came to the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you will not fall into temptation.’ He went away from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me. Yet not my will but yours be done.’ Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And in his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping, exhausted from grief. So he said to them, ‘Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you will not fall into temptation!’”

In fact, He was heard because of His devotion! But we note that this hearing didn’t mean that He escaped the cross. The whole purpose of the incarnation was for the cross. Jesus took on humanity and suffered as a result of His obedience.

Philippians 2:6-9 “who, though he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death —even death on a cross! As a result God highly exalted him and gave him the name, that is above every name,

In fact, God incarnate, the second person of the divine Godhead, learned perfect obedience through the cross, and He “became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.” If that doesn’t blow your mind, nothing will!

This can be difficult to understand, but it’s important for us to get. It’s the “solid food” that we should be chewing on as adults in the faith. This “solid food” teaches us the magnificent truth about the incarnation and the price that was paid for our salvation. It also teaches us that suffering has role to play in our lives, and we become better and more mature, or “perfected” as a result of it.

Devotional Reading for November 7, 2022

Hebrews 4

The reminder here is to persevere in our confession and not miss the promised rest of God like others did (4:11)! Here is the flow of argument in Hebrews 4 (with a little bit of Hebrews 3 thrown in):

  • God entered into rest at the time of creation and his rest continues (Hebrews 4:4-6).
  • This rest was available to the Israelites at the time of the Exodus, but they did not enter into it because of unbelief (Hebrews 3:8-11; 4:2, 6).
  • This rest was still available in David’s time, but it could only be entered into through faith (Hebrews 3:7, 13, 19; 4:7).
  • This rest is called a “Sabbath-rest,” and is identified as a cessation from individual works and an entering into God’s finished work (Hebrews 4:3, 9, 10).
  • This rest is available “today” (4:3), and we can enter it through Jesus Christ!
  • We know about our need through the Bible, because it judges “the desires and thoughts of the heart.” We all stand condemned before God as a result of its judgment (4:11-13).
  • Jesus is not only the great high priest who offers his own life for our salvation, He is also the great high priest who lived life on this earth and experienced what we experience. When we need help or understanding, we can go to Him (4:14-16).

Devotional Reading for November 6, 2022

Hebrews 3

The author of Hebrews continues to show us how great Jesus is, and how we should respond!

  • We are partners in the heavenly calling, all because of Jesus!
  • So we should follow Him. He is our example of how to be faithful.
  • He is greater than Moses!
  • We are the house that Jesus built. We show that we are His by holding firm to our confidence and hope.
  • We shouldn’t be like the Israelites, who rebelled (quote from Psalm 95:7-11).
  • We need to encourage and challenge each other in order to stay faithful and focused.

Devotional Reading for November 5, 2022

Hebrews 2

Our author continues to show the superiority of the Son!

(1-4) If angels were a part of the giving of the law (Deuteronomy 33:2) and we shouldn’t neglect it, how much more should we heed the message that was given by the Son!?!?!? “How will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” The Son’s message was confirmed by signs and the gifts given by the Holy Spirit.

(5-9) Psalm 8:4-6 and Genesis 1:28 reveal that the Son is greater than the angels because the world is subject to Him, even if that hasn’t yet been fully revealed. Even so, He deserves praise and adoration because of His willingness to become human and suffer on our behalf!

(10-18) Jesus became human and suffered and died so that we could be saved. Psalm 22 and Isaiah 8:17-18 foreshadow his sacrifice for us. Because of His sacrifice we have been set free from the power of Satan and the power of death. We no longer need to fear! And because He lived as we live, we can be assured that He understands the trials we experience in our lives and that He is willing to help us through them!

For worship:

Devotional Reading for November 4, 2022

Hebrews 1

Are you confused about who Jesus is and what being the Son means? Apparently you’re not alone. Here it’s revealed that Jesus as the Son is:

  • Communicator (He has spoken to us)
  • Heir
  • Creator
  • Majestic (He is the radiance of God’s glory)
  • Divine (He is the representation of God’s essence)
  • Sustainer
  • Savior
  • Lord (He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty)
  • So, of course He is better than the angels!

And, the author of Hebrews (possibly Paul) goes on to show exactly how much greater than the angels He is! He quotes Psalm 2:7, 2 Samuel 7:14, Deuteronomy 32:43, Psalm 45:6-7, Psalm 102:25-27, and Psalm 110:1. The angels are ministering servants. Jesus is King!

Note: once again we see that it’s the Bible that informs our theology. We don’t allow our theology to rewrite the Bible!