“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” – Hebrews 13:7-8
We quote Hebrews 13:8 often, but we don’t often connect it to the preceding verse. Reading it in the context of verse 7 brings out the truth in possibly more tangible ways.
Samuel was one of the great prophets of the Old Testament. His mother prayed for years to have a child and promised to give him to the Lord if she did. The Lord blessed her with a son and when Samuel was old enough she left him with Eli the priest at the house of the Lord. So Samuel grew up ministering before the Lord.
“The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.
One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel. Continue reading
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
‘Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.’
So we say with confidence,
‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?” – Hebrews 13:5-6
The connection between “the love of money” and the constant presence and help of God in the face of fear seems a little random at first. However, when we look a little deeper we see that in many cases these are very related.
“The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind:
‘You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.’ – Psalm 110:4
The above Psalm is a prophecy about the priesthood of Jesus in the order of Melchizedek. The story of Melchizedek is contained in Genesis chapter 14. Abram rescued his nephew Lot who had been captured after the city of Sodom and her allies were defeated in battle. Abram rounded up his fighting men and some others to help and went and defeated the victors, freeing Lot and the other captives. After winning the victory this scene occurs,
“When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’
Aaron answered them, ‘Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.’ So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” – Exodus 32:1-4
The previous devotion focused on the first two verses of Psalm 103 and the need to remind ourselves of all the reasons we have to praise the Lord. This devotion will work through those reasons as David lists them in the Psalm.
“who forgives all your sins”
Through Christ all of our sins are atoned for perfectly and completely. Not just many of them or partly, but all of them completely.
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the Lord a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them. Each one who crosses over to those already counted is to give a half shekel, according to the sanctuary shekel,which weighs twenty gerahs. This half shekel is an offering to the Lord. All who cross over, those twenty years old or more, are to give an offering to the Lord. The rich are not to give more than a half shekel and the poor are not to give less when you make the offering to the Lord to atone for your lives. Receive the atonement money from the Israelites and use it for the service of the tent of meeting. It will be a memorial for the Israelites before the Lord, making atonement for your lives.” – Exodus 30:11-16
Exodus 30 is part of the Lord teaching Moses on Mount Sinai the laws by which the Israelites would be governed. There are a number of different offerings outlined, but this one caught my eye for a few reasons.