Daily Bible Readings – Tuesday April 3, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 94 – Praying the Unprayable Psalms
Prayer Point: Vengeance and justice are not in our hands, but on God’s shoulders. We do not pick up the sword to fight evil, we instead drop to our knees and implore God to act. This is a prayer for the marginalized, the defenseless, not for the rich and powerful. Pick a vulnerable community in the world that is oppressed through war or crushing poverty and pray this psalm on their behalf.

Mark 11:27-33

Jesus was not a Pharisee, nor was he a trained priest. He had not been schooled by one of Israel’s rabbis and so they questioned him, “by what authority do you do these things?” In other words, “who is your rabbi?” Jesus could have answered, “my rabbi is God the Father?” but they would have roundly rejected his answer. Instead Jesus puts them on the defensive by asking them a question.

Why can’t the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders not answer Jesus’ simple question? What heart motivation does Jesus expose in them?

Jesus refuses to answer their question because they are not prepared to put their faith in him. They are not interested in learning the truth, only to hang onto their power.

2 Corinthians 1:8-22

The Roman province of Asia consisted of what we would call Western Turkey. Its largest city was Ephesus. Paul managed to plant a church in that city despite great opposition and suffering which you can read about in Acts 19.

What did Paul and Timothy learn from their suffering and despair in Asia (Ephesus)? How did the fact that God raises the dead give them hope? How did the Corinthians aid Paul and Timothy during this time of trial?

In verse 12 Paul speaks of God’s grace. One thing that might help you understand this passage is to know that Paul uses the term “God’s grace” in two senses. One describes the unmerited love and favor that God gives us through Jesus Christ. The other refers to the empowerment, or spiritual gifts, that God gives us through the Holy Spirit to enable to us to carry out the unique life mission that Jesus gives each of us. What did God’s grace enable Paul and Timothy to do? What benefit did the Corinthian church receive from their gifts?

Who is the “yes” of the promises of God? Who is the deposit guaranteeing that we will receive what God has promised in the future?

Here is one way to think about it. God the Father conceives the promises. Jesus, the Son makes the promises of God reality. The Spirit makes the promises real to one person at a time.

Lamentations 1:17-22        Zion Gets No Comfort

Why would the LORD decree that Jerusalem’s neighbors become her foes? (Verse 17?)

Why, according to verse 18 did the LORD send the young men and maidens into exile?

Why, according to verse 19, are people perishing in the City? (Jerusalem)

Verse 20 eloquently describes the goings-on in Jerusalem.  What is at the root of all this distress?

What is the imagery of Jerusalem’s plight?  What is the author’s request for his enemies?  Whom does he not blame?  (Verse 21)

Verse 22 echoes verse 21.  What doesn’t the author insist on?  Have you ever felt this kind of remorse for your own sins?  Rather than seek revenge by himself who does the author trust to address his enemies?

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