Prayer Psalm: 111
Prayer Point: Psalm 111 is a prayer thanking God for what he has done. Think about what God has done in your life both over the years and just in the last week and offer him your thanks.
It was John, Jesus’ cousin and the last prophet of Israel, who was sent to prepare the people for the coming of their king. John called the people to repent of their sins and to be baptized which symbolized a cleansing of sin and a humble return to God. John stands on the banks of the Jordan River baptizing the crowds, when suddenly he sees Jesus coming towards him.
How does John identify Jesus? What will Jesus do? Lambs without blemish were sacrificed in the Old Testament as a sacrifice for the sins of the people. John is telling us that these lambs pointed to the true lamb who would take away the sins of the world with one final sacrifice.
What does John see when he baptizes Jesus? What does this picture tell us about the role the Holy Spirit will play in Jesus’ ministry?
The final destruction of the enemies of God’s people in Revelation 18 sparks a wild celebration in heaven (Revelation 19:1-3) and on earth , the twenty-four elders (representing faithful Israel and the church that has died and entered the presence of God – 19:4-5) and the great multitudes (19:6-8).
What coming event triggers the shouting in verses 6-8? What has God done for his people?
The Lamb is Jesus and the bride is God’s faithful people (faithful Israel and the church). The wedding feast is the culmination of world history when Jesus the groom will “marry” his people and live with them forever in peace and prosperity.
What is John instructed to write by the angel? What happens when John attempts to worship the angel?
John sees heaven open and before him is an image of a rider on a white horse. Who is the rider on the white horse? To answer this question compare the description of the rider on the white horse to the description of Jesus in Revelation 1:12-18. Compare the name “the Word of God” to the opening words of John’s gospel (John 1:1). What is written on his thigh? What will this rider do?
Remember that the full title of the book of Revelation is “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 1:1). What strikes you about this image of Jesus? In what ways is it reassuring? In what ways is it terrifying? Why do you think we need to know Christ in this way?
Job 38:1-11; 42:1-5
These are more proverbs of Solomon. These particular proverbs were copied by King Hezekiah’s men. “Through patience a ruler can be persuaded and a gentle tongue can break a bone.” (Proverbs 25:15) What does this proverb concern itself with? (I believe this proverb is talking about diplomacy.)
“If you find honey, eat just enough – too much of it, and you will vomit. Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house – too much of you, and he will hate you.” (Proverbs 25:16-17 NIV) These two proverbs are closely related. It amounts to “familiarity breeds contempt”.
Verse 25:18 “Like a club…a sword…a sharp arrow…” This proverb describes the effects of false testimony against one’s neighbor. It is, of course, against the ninth commandment.
Verse 25:19 “Like a bad tooth …a lame foot…” is a description of the unfaithful in times of trouble. A “fair weather friend” as it were.
Verse 25:20 “Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.” Just to be clear about what “like vinegar on soda” means: According to the ESV Study Bible “25:20 Putting vinegar (which is acidic) on soda (which is alkaline) does no good, destroying the distinctive properties of both.” Usually when one has a heavy heart it is because one has suffered a great loss. Trying to boost morale by singing songs only demonstrates how insensitive such behavior is. You may recall that King Saul was plagued by an evil spirit once the LORD’s Spirit left him. In order to cheer Saul up it was determined that someone come in and play music for the king to drive the evil away. David was the musician chosen.
“If your enemy is hungry, give him food to heat: if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.” (Proverbs 25:21-22 NIV) This proverb was so profound that Paul quoted it verbatim in Romans (12:20). Jesus, in his Sermon on the Mount, encouraged us to love our enemies: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:43-45a NIV)
Verse 25:23 talks about a backbiter or a gossiper. No one likes a backbiter. But as for the north wind bringing rain, well; in our case it would be snow (in the winter time).
“Better to live in a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.” (v.25:24 NIV) I don’t think I want to say anything about that!
Back to the ‘likes’.
“Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.” (v. 25:25) I don’t think the land has to be all that distant. Good news is always beneficial to a weary soul.
“Like a muddied spring or a polluted wed is a righteous man who give way to the wicked.” (v. 25:26) It is always disheartening when a good man goes bad. This one’s for the books – me making a sports reference. When Pete Rose was caught betting against his own team he proved a serious disappointment to thousands, if not millions of fans. Can you think of others who proved disappointing once they had fallen from their pedestal?
We re-visit the honey in this verse (v. 25:27). “It is not good to eat too much honey.” I take that to mean that it is unhealthy. We have seen this above in Proverbs 25:16. Seeking one’s own honor is nothing more than patting oneself on his back. Everyone loves that!
Verse 25:28 is perhaps somewhat foreign to us today. There is enough history which depicts what it is like when the city walls are breached. The lack of self-control is a mark of a fool. Without self-control a person’s defenses are gone – like the broken down walls of a city.
It would be best to review or explore the first three chapters of Job. The thumbnail sketch is this: The LORD had asked Satan (who had been going through throughout the earth) if he had taken notice of Job whom the LORD described as upright (righteous). Satan says that sure, Job is happy and righteous because everything is coming up roses for him. Take his roses away and then see what happens. The LORD allows Satan to take all of Job’s property and family, virtually overnight. Job had 10 children who were all killed in a freak accident while at the house of the eldest. Imagine, all ten of your children dead! As if that were not bad enough, thieves came and carried off all of his livestock. Now he was flat broke and not happy. His wife (no help in this matter) told Job to curse God and die. Get it over with. Hi response to her was something like: “Shall we receive good things and not bad things from the LORD?” He did not abandon God. Satan was not satisfied with that and prompted the LORD to allow him (Satan) to strike Job with boils. So there is poor Job sitting in a heap and trying to figure out why so much had gone wrong.
He is joined by three of his “friends” (actually there are four – the last one shows up in Chapter 32 – Elihu by name). Job has been sitting in this ash heap for the better part of a week and these guys came along and spend who knows how long telling Job that he must have done something sinful. Job denies any wrongdoing but he does get worn down. He, however, remains faithful. This brings us to Chapter 38 when the LORD enters the conversation.
What kinds of questions does the LORD pose? (The LORD makes no attempt to answer the “charges” against him, but rather demands to know where these people were when all things came into being.)
How does the LORD paint himself in these verses? (He portrays himself as creator and guardian of the world.)
Chapter 42:1-5 Job Makes a Feeble Attempt at an Answer
What does Job say in response which we have seen earlier (Proverbs 25:30)? (“ …no plans of yours can be thwarted.” (v. 42:2 NIV))
What does Job admit to; something we all could learn from? (“Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” (v. 42:3b))
According to Job, what great thing did the LORD grant to him? (“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.”)