Daily Bible Readings – Thursday April 5, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 142
Prayer Point: Psalm 142 is a prayer for the dark. David prayed this from the back of a cave with his enemies lurking outside. You know someone in the cave today. Pray this on their behalf. This is also Jesus in Garden of Gethsemane knowing that within hours he would give up his life on the cross. Meditate on the suffering Jesus experienced the night he was betrayed.

Mark 14:12-25

The Passover meal commemorated the night that God led his people, Israel, out of slavery in Egypt.  The Israelites, while under Roman occupation celebrated Passover with the hopes that God would free them once again. The disciples thought that Jesus might be the one to make it happen.

What unsettling prediction did Jesus make during the meal? What new meaning does Jesus give the Passover unleavened bread? What does the Passover cup of wine now signify?

In the Old Testament story of the first passover, the people of Israel killed a lamb and put its blood on the doorposts of their homes. That night the angel of death came to put to death the firstborn son of every family in Egypt, except for the homes where he saw the blood of the lamb. You might say that the blood caused the angel to “pass over”, hence the name of the feast. And so it is with Christ, all who come to him in faith and repentance are covered by his blood and the angel of death has passed us by as well.

1 Corinthians 10:14-17; 11:27-32

1 Corinthians 10:14-17. Paul urges the Corinthians to flee idolatry, the worship of false gods.  The “cup of thanksgiving” and the “bread” are the bread and cup of communion.  How does communion bind us to God and to each other? Why couldn’t the Corinthians participate in communion (the Lord’s Table) and pagan sacrifices at the same time?

1 Corinthians 11:27-32. Paul has a warning for those who participate in communion in an unworthy manner. Celebrating communion unworthily is connected to “not recognizing the body of the LORD”. While some have argued convincingly that failure to recognize the body of the LORD, is taking the bread and cup without recognizing Jesus’ body and blood in the elements, I believe that Paul has a different form of Christ’s body in mind. The church community is the body of Christ that has gone unrecognized.  Look at verse 33 and verses 20-22 to see what Paul means by celebrating communion unworthily. What have the Corinthian Christians experienced because they made a mockery of the Lord’s Supper?

Lamentations 2:10-18  The Effects of the Devastation of Jerusalem and the Need for Repentance

Verses 8-9 tell us that is was the LORD who was behind all this destruction (not just the enemy) and that he left no stone unturned, as it were.  Most importantly, he has discontinued his dialog with his people (“and her prophets find no vision from the LORD.” v. 9b ESV)

Why does the LORD “not restrain his hand from destroying”?  (The LORD had warned for centuries that devastation would come as a result of idolatry.  The removal of Israel should have been a wakeup call to Judah but alas, it was not.  “And the LORD said to me in the days of King Josiah: ‘Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there played the whore? And I thought, “After she has done all this she will return to me,” but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it.  She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce.  Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore.  Because she [Israel] took her whoredom lightly, she polluted the land, committing adultery with stone and tree.  Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense, declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 3:7-10 ESV)

Verses 10-12 There appears to be an attitude of remorse, repentance, and sorrow (mourning) among the elders.  But is it real?  The infants and babies are starving.  The writer weeps sorely for Jerusalem, because of its destruction.  Jesus, on his way to Jerusalem for the final week of his life, gazed upon the City  and lamented for her in exactly the same attitude.  “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it!  How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!  See, your house is left to you desolate.” (Matthew 23:37-38 ESV)

Why is Jerusalem so special?  (It is the place where God dwells.)  Verse 12 talks of the infants and babies whose life is poured out as they cry to their mothers.  “Where is bread and wine?”  I find that an interesting choice for sustenance.  (Flesh and blood?)

Is it “just” that the babies be included in this disaster?  How can God show mercy to the few who are righteous (or innocent)?

Verse 13 describes the anguish of the author for he cannot find any words of comfort for Jerusalem.  Who do you think is speaking in verse 13, is it the author or God himself?

Why were the prophets useless at this time?  What is the major charge leveled against the prophets in verse 14?  Is this not itself a fulfillment of prophecy? (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12)

What kind of mocking do we see in verse 15?

The scoffers in verse 16 open their mouths “and gnash their teeth and say ‘We have swallowed her up.”  Why are they so delighted?

What defense does the writer offer for the LORD in verse 17?  What has the LORD done?   Review chapter 29 of Deuteronomy to see how great Moses’ foresight (prophecy) was.

Why would the song Cry Me a River come to mind when one reads verse 18?

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