Highlights In Today's Reading:
Jesus' position in our lives is #1 — His preeminence and finality as High Priest (not merely looking for His gifts or blessings)! Note Jesus' superior priestly qualifications (5:1-10), and His Priestly Order (7:1-28). Believers are warned of the danger of not maturing spiritually (5:11-6:20).
In Israel, there was a vast difference between the high priest and the other priests. Only the high priest was permitted annually to enter the Holy of Holies and into the very presence of God. He alone bore on his forehead the golden crown with the words: Holiness to the Lord (Ex. 28:36-38), and only he could offer sacrifices for the sins of the nation and intercede on the annual Day of Atonement.
In the Old Testament, a sinless animal took the place of an Israelite and was slain in his place for his sin. Thus, the devout Jew was continually reminded that it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul (Lev. 17:11). But, the need for numerous sacrifices ceased on the day Jesus, the sinless Son of God, died on the cross for our sins as the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29). He (also) became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him (Heb. 5:9).
How thankful we are that mercy is an attribute of God, for it is one of our greatest daily needs. Mercy is an expression of His willingness to forgive sinners and deliver them from eternal hell. Mercy is a practical demonstration of love and compassion. But, because God is holy, He must also enforce the penalty for sin without respect of persons (I Pet. 1:17), and the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23).
Under the Levitical priesthood, it was written many times that God is merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin (Ex. 34:6-7). How much more we can be assured of God's mercy through Christ, our exalted Lord, making intercession for us (Heb. 7:25; 9:24)!
Our highest privilege is to press on to be like Him and treasure the will of God as the most precious thing in our life. Too often our trouble is not that we do not know the will of God but, rather, that we do not yield to His will when He makes it clear.
Christ's soon return should be our strongest motivation to do the Savior's will. Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Titus 2:13-14).
Thought for Today:
"Resting" in Jesus' finished work of grace is deceptive and assumes there is nothing for us to do. Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only (James 1:22).
For Heb. 5:5: See Ps. 2:7. Heb. 5:6: See Ps. 110:4. Heb. 6:14: See Gen. 22:17.
6:17 immutability of His counsel =b> His purpose will not be altered.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts for the week in honor of Reverend Leonard P. Miller • Radio Sri Lanka International Shortwave Broadcasts for the week sponsored Mrs. Nesa A. Anderson • Government Officials: Rep. Anna Eshoo (CA) and Gov. Tom Vilsack (IA) • Country: Serbia and Montenegro (11 million) on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe • Major language: Serbo-Croatian • Religious conflict • 41% Serbian/Montenegrin/Macedonian Orthodox; 33% Catholic; 11% Muslim; 1% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Ask for understanding as you read the Word of God (Ps. 119:73).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 2:21