Daily Bible Readings – Tuesday May 8, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 61
Prayer Point: David has seen the pain, sorrow, and violence of our world and so he cries out to God. So what does pray for when he looks out a broken world? He prays for the coming of heaven, for God’s great King, whom we know as Jesus, to be enthroned forever. What pains you about the world today? Lift it to God by praying, “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Matthew 6:7-15

Pagan prayer was about “sucking up” to their gods to get their attention. Prayer by the Jewish leaders in Israel was about drawing attention to yourself so that others could marvel at their “holiness.” How is Christian prayer different? What do we have to do to get God’s attention?

The Lord’s Prayer is Jesus’ key teaching on prayer. Let’s go through the Lord’s Prayer together.
How does God want us to address him? Why is this an important contrast to pagan prayer?
If ‘hallowed’ means ‘may your name be made holy’, what is Jesus teaching us about the first we thing we do in prayer?
Verse 10 is an example of Hebrew poetry. The first line is explained by the second line. ‘Your kingdom comes’ = ‘your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ How is praying this portion of the Lord’s prayer an expression of love for God (see Matthew 26:36-39).
The key word in verse 11 is ‘our’. It’s not about my needs, it is about us. If verse 10 is an expression of what love for God looks like in prayer, verse 11 is what love for neighbor looks like. How does Exodus 16 shed light on what it means to pray for our daily bread?
How is the forgiveness of our sins connected to forgiving others?
What can we ask for in our battle against sin?

Try reading through the Lord’s prayer line by line. Pause after each verse and pray what whatever comes to mind.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

‘The day of the Lord’ was a phrase used by the Old Testament prophets to refer to a day of God’s judgment. In this case, it appears that Paul speaks of THE day of the LORD, that is the day of Christ’s return. Will the world be expecting the arrival of King Jesus? What should we, the followers of Jesus, do as we prepare for the coming of the Lord? What was the purpose of Christ’s death concerning us?

Leviticus 16:20-34       The Fate of the Scapegoat

What is the first thing that Aaron (the high priest) supposed to do to the goat?  Why?  (“He is to lay both his hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites – all their sins – and put them on the goat’s head.” (Leviticus 16:20b-21 NIV)  We have seen the practice of imposing hands on the head as far back as Jacob when he blessed Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh.  It was customary also in the early church to commission people by means of the laying on of hands. At one point in most ordinations (of ministers and priests and bishops) there is the laying on of hands as a sign of authority being conferred.)

What happens to the goat next?  ([The high priest] “shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task.  The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place; and the man shall release it in the desert.” (Leviticus 16:21b-22 NIV)  All of this activity takes place outside the camp.  This is significant, especially when applied to Jesus, who as the world’s sacrificial, lamb was taken outside the camp (in this case Jerusalem) and sacrificed.) )

This is the most sacred aspect of the “Day of Atonement”.  The high priest [in this case Aaron] will then will remove his sacred garments and then bathe, redress in his regular garb and sacrifice the burnt offering for the people and to make atonement for himself and the people.  What becomes of the live goat and the man caring for it?  (The goat is released in the desert there to bear the sins of the people in the wilderness.  The guardian of the goat will then wash his clothes and bathe himself and then return to the camp.  Chapter 4 of Leviticus discusses the sin offering to be made for the people in greater detail.)

Yesterday we saw that the high priest had a bull and two goats.  What was the fate of the ram and the other goat?  (The bull and the goat were sacrificed and the excess were brought outside the camp.  “The bull and the goat for the sin offerings, whose blood was brought into the Most Holy Place to make atonement, must be taken outside the camp; their hides, flesh and offal are to be burned up.  The man who burns them must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may come into the camp.” (Leviticus 16:27-28))

When is all this gory activity to take place?  (“On the tenth day of the seventh month [that would correspond in our calendar to September-October] you must deny yourselves and not do any work – whether native-born or an alien living among you – because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you.  Then, before the LORD, you will be clean from all your sins.  It is a sabbath of rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance.” (Leviticus 16:29-31 NIV))

Who is the one who presides over this ceremony?  (“The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement.” (Leviticus 16:32 NIV))

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