Daily Bible Readings – Saturday May 19, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 87

Prayer Point: Israel, like many peoples of the world, wrongly believed they exclusively owned God’s love. This Psalm reveals God’s true heart. God will include people from all over the world (Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and Libya are mentioned) to be apart of his kingdom (Zion). Align your prayers with God’s dream for the world. Pray for the gospel to spread to peoples who have never heard it. Pray for the missionaries who are bringing the gospel to the world.

Matthew 7:28-8:4

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount has just come to a close. How does Jesus stand out from the other teachers of the law? What it would look like for us to take Jesus’ teaching with the same seriousness?

It was believed that when a ceremonially clean and holy man came in contact with an unclean and unholy person, that the holy man became unclean. What happens when the holy and clean Jesus touches the unclean, unholy man with leprosy?

Ephesians 2:11-22

The Jewish mind conceived humanity as two groups: God’s people and not God’s people, the circumcised and the uncircumcised, Israel and the Gentiles. This sort of thinking found its way into the early church. Some Christians, called “the circumcision”, believed that no one could become a true Christian without first becoming a Jew.

What were the Ephesians before they encountered Christ? What has happened to them because of Christ? What does Christ do to the wall that divided humanity? What has Christ created with humanity? How has he done it? What access do both Jews and Gentiles now both enjoy (verse 18)?

You are no longer ___________________________ but ___________________________________.
(verse 19). What has Jesus built with both Jews and Gentiles?

The temple is simply the place where God’s presence is concentrated. In the Old Testament, the temple was first a tent and later a building in Jerusalem. What is the temple today? What is our part in it?

Numbers 11:16-17; 24-29

Numbers – another Old Testament book with a tainted reputation. Let’s see if I can change your mind about that!

What does the LORD tell Moses to do? (“The LORD said to Moses: ‘Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the Tent of Meeting, that they may stand there with you. I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit that is on you and put the Spirit on them.” (Numbers 11:16 NIV))

I have underlined the word “on” in the above passage to distinguish how the Holy Spirit now inhabits the believer – he is not “on” the believer but rather indwells him.

Notice again the use of “seventy”. Seven and its derivatives (7, 70, 700, 7,000) are numbers of completeness.

Does this passage have a ring of familiarity? (It should. We discussed the arrival of Moses’ father-in-law Jethro whose contribution to the mix was that Moses should share his burden with those among the elders competent to judge the “lesser” issues (read “complaints”) of the people. See Exodus Chapter 18)

What purpose will these “seventy” serve? (“They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone.” (Numbers 11:17 NIV))

When the LORD imparted his Spirit on the seventy elders, what did they do once that they never did again? (“When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but they did not do so again.” (Numbers 26:25 NIV) Notice that the Spirit “rested” on the elders. If you look at Acts Chapter 2 we read: “They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit …” (Acts 2:3-4a NIV) The tongues “rested” whereas the Spirit “filled” them. The tongues were an outward sign of an inward work.)

How do Eldad and Medad distinguish themselves among the elders of Israel? (Eldad and Medad remained in the camp. “They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the Tent. Yet they Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp.” (Numbers 11:26b NIV))

A young man came with haste to tell Moses that Eldad and Medad were prophesying in the camp. What was Joshua’s problem with this? (“Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, ‘Moses, my lord, stop them.’” (Numbers 11:28 NIV))

Whereas Joshua was young, Moses was old. How does Moses’ wisdom ease Joshua’s apprehension? (“But Moses replied, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!’” (Numbers 11:29 NIV) I share Moses’ wish that everyone would be hungry for the word of God. I pray daily that we all can say with David: “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Psalms 63:1 NIV))

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