Psalm 124 The Voice (VOICE)
A song of David for those journeying to worship.
1 If the Eternal had not been with us—
6 Blessed be the Eternal
8 Our help has come in the name of the Eternal,
Genesis 9:1-17 The Voice (VOICE)
9 God spoke a blessing over Noah and his sons.
Eternal One: Be fruitful, multiply, and populate the earth! 2 All the animals on the earth, all the birds in the sky, all the creatures that creep along the ground, and all the fish of the sea will now be afraid and run from you; they have been handed over to you. 3 Every living thing that moves will be available to you as food. Just as I once gave you the green plants to eat, I now give you everything. 4 But listen carefully: Do not eat any meat with its life-blood still in it. 5 More than that, do not spill the blood of any human. If anyone spills your blood, I will hold him responsible. It makes no difference whether it is a man or an animal, both will be accountable to Me! If someone murders a fellow human being, then I will require his life in return.
6 Whoever sheds the blood of a human,
All life is sacred. Human life is especially so. Protecting it is of utmost importance to God. He takes this so seriously and personally because He made humanity to reflect Him. We are His earthly representatives, made in His image. To murder another person is to mount an attack on the One who created him.
8 But God was not finished. He had more to say both to Noah and his sons.
Eternal One: 9 Look, for I am now going to make a pact, a special covenant, with you and all your descendants. 10 This covenant also extends to every living creature in the world—the birds, the domesticated animals, and every wild animal on the earth—as many as emerged with you from the ark. 11 As part of this covenant, I promise you I will never again wipe out all living flesh by means of flooding waters. Never again will a flood destroy the earth. 12 As a sign of this perpetual covenant I now make between Me and you and all living creatures along with you, as well as all future generations, 13 I will hang a rainbow among the clouds. It will serve as a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. 14 And from now on, whenever a cloud rises over the earth and a rainbow appears in the sky, 15 I will remember My covenant—My promise I have made between Me and you and all living creatures. No waters will ever again turn into a flood powerful enough to destroy all living creatures. 16 When that rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember this eternal covenant I have made with all living creatures.
17 Look for the rainbow, and remember My promise. With it I sign the covenant I have made between Me and all the living creatures residing on the earth.
Hebrews 11:32-40 The Voice (VOICE)
32 I could speak more of faith; I could talk until time itself ran out. If I continued, I could speak of the examples of Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthah, of David and Samuel and all the prophets. 33 I could give accounts of people alive with faith who conquered kingdoms, brought justice, obtained promises, and closed the mouths of hungry lions. 34 I could tell you how people of faith doused raging fires, escaped the edge of the sword, made the weak strong, and—stoking great valor among the champions of God—sent opposing armies into panicked flight.
35 I could speak of faith bringing women their loved ones back from death and how the faithful accepted torture instead of earthly deliverance because they believed they would obtain a better life in the resurrection. 36 Others suffered mockery and whippings; they were placed in chains and in prisons. 37 The faithful were stoned, sawn in two,[a] killed by the sword, clothed only in sheepskins and goatskins; they were penniless, afflicted, and tormented. 38 The world was not worthy of these saints. They wandered across deserts, crossed mountains, and lived in the caves, cracks, and crevasses of the earth.
Stories of faith and faithfulness are central to the First Testament. The writer of Hebrews recalls some of the most memorable examples of how people of faith lived their lives. But what is faith? Faith is more than belief; it is trust, assurance, and firm conviction. Ironically most of those who lived by faith never fully realized the promises God had made. Like us they journeyed as strangers and exiles, longing for another country. We should remember their patient faith when we face prolonged hardships and allow the trials we face to strengthen our faith rather than destroy it. If we are comfortable here and don’t face suffering for our faith, perhaps we aren’t fully living by faith and looking forward to a future hope.
39 These, though commended by God for their great faith, did not receive what was promised. 40 That promise has awaited us, who receive the better thing that God has provided in these last days, so that with us, our forebears might finally see the promise completed.