Hebrews 4–6; Psalm 137

Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem nto 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 othey were not united by faith with those who listened.1 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,

pAs 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: qAnd God rested on the seventh day from all his works. And again in this passage he said,

rThey shall not enter my rest.

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

tToday, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts.

For if Joshua had given them rest, God2 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 urested from his works as God did from his.

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

Jesus the Great High Priest

14 Since then we have da great high priest ewho has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, flet us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest gwho is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been dtempted as we are, hyet without sin. 16 iLet 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.

For every high priest chosen from among men jis appointed to act on behalf of men kin relation to God, lto offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. mHe can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself nis beset with weakness. Because of this he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins ojust as he does for those of the people. And pno one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, qjust as Aaron was.

So also Christ rdid not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him,

sYou are my Son,

today I have begotten you;

as he says also in another place,

tYou are a priest forever,

after the order of Melchizedek.

In the days of his flesh, uJesus3 offered up prayers and supplications, vwith loud cries and tears, to him wwho was able to save him from death, and xhe was heard because of his reverence. Although yhe was a son, zhe learned obedience through what he suffered. And abeing made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest bafter the order of Melchizedek.

Warning Against Apostasy

11 About this we have much to say, and it is chard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again dthe basic principles of the oracles of God. You need emilk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is fa child. 14 But solid food is for gthe mature, for those who have their powers hof discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Therefore ilet us leave jthe elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance kfrom dead works and of faith toward God, and of linstruction about washings,4 mthe laying on of hands, nthe resurrection of the dead, and oeternal judgment. And this we will do pif God permits. For it is impossible, in the case of those qwho have once been enlightened, who have tasted rthe heavenly gift, and shave shared in the Holy Spirit, and thave tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and uthen have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since vthey are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. For wland that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But xif it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, yand its end is to be burned.

Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better thingsthings that belong to salvation. 10 For zGod is not unjust so as to overlook ayour work and the love that you have shown for his name in bserving the saints, as you still do. 11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance cof hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but dimitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

The Certainty of God’s Promise

13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, ehe swore by himself, 14 saying, fSurely I will bless you and multiply you. 15 And thus Abraham,5 ghaving patiently waited, obtained the promise. 16 For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes han oath is final for confirmation. 17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to ithe heirs of the promise jthe unchangeable character of his purpose, khe guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which lit is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope mset before us. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into nthe inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone oas a forerunner on our behalf, phaving become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.


How Shall We Sing the Lord’s Song?

137  By the waters of Babylon,

there we sat down and wept,

when we remembered Zion.

On the willows1 there

we hung up our lyres.

For there our captors

required of us songs,

and our tormentors, mirth, saying,

Sing us one of the songs of Zion!

sHow shall we sing the Lord’s song

in a foreign land?

If I forget you, O Jerusalem,

tlet my right hand forget its skill!

Let my utongue stick to the roof of my mouth,

if I do not remember you,

if I do not set Jerusalem

above my highest joy!

Remember, O Lord, against the vEdomites

wthe day of Jerusalem,

how they said, xLay it bare, lay it bare,

down to its foundations!

O daughter of Babylon, ydoomed to be destroyed,

blessed shall he be who zrepays you

with what you have done to us!

Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones

and adashes them against the rock!