Daily Bible Readings – Monday May 21, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 89

Prayer Point: How do you pray when you are suffering? Psalm 89 call us first to worship God (verses 1-18), then remind God of the promises that he has made (verses 19-37) and finally to cry out to God and tell him honestly how bad things are. Try following this pattern as you pray today.

Matthew 8:5-17

A centurion was an officer in the hated Roman army that occupied Israel. What does Jesus see in the centurion that causes him to exclaim, “I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.”? Why do you think that many in Israel who were born into the kingdom of heaven will be cast out, and many who were born on the outside be brought in? What does it take to be invited to the feast of the kingdom of heaven? What connection does Jesus make between the faith of the centurion and the healing of his servant?

Does Peter’s mother-in-law do anything to “earn” her healing? How are the healings performed by Jesus connected to the prophecies of the Old Testament?

Ephesians 3:1-13

For whose sake is Paul a prisoner of Christ?

Paul tells us in verse 2 that he has been given “the administration of God’s grace”, that is a special gift or insight or empowerment from God. What does verses 3-6 tell us about the nature of this gift?

What is the mystery surrounding the gospel that has been revealed to Paul?

The word “grace” in Paul’s writing can either mean unmerited forgiveness and blessings from God or it can refer to a special spiritual gift, talent, or knowledge that is given by God to an individual. What has Paul become in verse 7 because of the “grace” given to him by God? How does Paul’s life mission flow out of the gift that God has given him through his power?

What mission has God given the church in verse 10? How has the life, death and resurrection of Jesus impacted our relationship with God? How should this truth impact the way the Ephesians viewed Paul’s suffering?

Joshua 1:1-9

“Now Joshua son of Nun (an Ephraimite of the sons of Joseph – see Numbers 13:8) was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the LORD had commanded Moses.” (Deuteronomy 34:9 NIV) [A couple of things about this verse. Firstly, while it is true that Joshua was “filled” with the spirit of wisdom, it is not to be thought of as his being filled with the Holy Spirit as we understand the “indwelling” of the Spirit. I think the spirit of wisdom granted to Joshua had more to do with governing “this great people”. – j.t.] Secondly, we have seen just a couple of weeks ago that authority and blessings are imparted by the imposition of hands [see the section on the “Day of Atonement”]. How is Joshua referred in verse one? (Joshua is referred to as Moses’ aide.)

What is the first thing the LORD tells Joshua to do? (“Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them – to the Israelites.” (Joshua 1:2 NIV))

What rather sweeping statement does the LORD make about this new venture for the Hebrews? (“I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.” (Joshua 1:3 NIV))

How vast is the land of the Israelites to be? (“Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates – all the Hittite country – to the Great Sea [the Mediterranean] on the west.” History shows that the Israelites failed to subdue all the land promised principally because they failed to believe that the LORD would actually do what he had promised. It won’t be until the time of David and Solomon that the borders of Israel will begin to approach those described by the LORD.)

What wonderful promise does the LORD make to Joshua (which, through Jesus) we claim for ourselves even today? (“As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5 NIV emphasis added) We have seen that Moses was reluctant to lead the people out of Egypt (certainly one of the most momentous events in history) because, I think, he was afraid to fail even though the LORD promised to be with him. It didn’t help when the LORD told Moses that Pharaoh will be equally reluctant to let the people go.)

In verses six and seven the LORD urges Joshua “to be ______________ and __________________”. “Be ____________ and very ____________________.” (Strong and courageous)

Under what conditions will Joshua succeed? (“Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7 NIV))

What does the LORD continue to harp on? (It is perhaps the best advice Joshua would ever receive!) (“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:8 NIV))

The LORD encourages Joshua again to “Be________________ and ______________________” (verse 9) “Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (v.9) If you read Numbers Chapter 13 (and I urge you to do that), you will find that only two of the twelve spies who were sent to spy out the land came back with a positive report. Joshua, our new hero, and Caleb. Joshua had demonstrated his valor early in his career, thus he became Moses’ aide.

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