Prayer Psalm: 81
Prayer Point: The themes of faith and repentance, the essence of the Christ life, run through this psalm. We turn away from our idols that can’t satisfy us (repentance) and turn to God with wide open mouths asking him to fill them (faith). What are the idols in our lives that we turn to? Confess these to God. What is the emptiness that we need God to fill? Bring those to God with a wide open mouth.
How do the disciples view greatness? How do we understand greatness? What does Jesus say about greatness in the eyes of the kingdom? What must we become like in order to enter the kingdom of heaven?
Youth was not valued in Jesus’ day as it is today. A person’s status in Jesus’ day increased with age rather than diminished. To identify with a child was to identify yourself with the lowest of society.
In most societies, the gods identified themselves with the ruling class. Who does Jesus identify with? Whoever welcomes this ______________ welcomes me. What will Jesus do to those who cause one of his little ones to fall into sin?
While Jesus sees temptation as inevitable, what does Jesus say about those through whom temptation comes? Why would Jesus use such harsh terms talking about dismemberment of the body parts that cause us to sin?
Paul has argued that human brokenness flows from a heart that refuses to recognize God nor give him thanks (see Romans 1:21) and exchanged him for false gods. What sins did God give the Gentiles over to because of their ungrateful unbelief?
As we transition to chapter 2, Paul has quietly set up us religious people. All of us can think of modern day examples of the human wickedness that Paul describes in chapter 1 and we like the idea that God is going to punish such evil. But then comes the opening words of chapter 2:
Romans 2:1 “You [that would be the Roman Christians], therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else [the pagans] for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
How are Jews and Gentiles, religious and pagan people, the same before God? Why are both groups worthy of God’s judgment? What qualities of God do religious people fail to see? What did God do for us in verse 4 that caused us to come to repentance? Why are we unwilling to extend to others what God extended to us? What judgment awaits both Jew and Gentile? What standard will God use for both groups?
Numbers 11:24-35 The Seventy Elders
Verses 11:24-25 tell us that the LORD did as he promised: he put his Spirit on the seventy elders. Now the seventy elders were to gather at the Tent of Meeting (Testimony) which is outside the camp and they were prophesying. What did the young man notice in the camp? What was Joshua’s feeling about what was going on? (The young man noticed that a couple of men [Eldad and Medad], who must have been among the elders of Israel, were prophesying in the camp when the other elders were prophesying outside the camp. Joshua urged Moses to have them stop prophesying.)
How does Moses view Joshua’s advice to him regarding the two elders who prophesied in the camp? (He thinks that Joshua is jealous for Moses’ sake; that somehow the seventy elders having this new authority in some way diminishes Moses’ own authority. Many centuries later John the Baptist will display this same spirit of Moses when he declares: “The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:29-30 NIV emphasis added) For Moses this sharing of God’s Spirit was more in the nature of preserving Moses to complete his mission to get the Israelites to the Promised Land. Remember now he was somewhere between 80 and 120 years of age.)
We have seen from yesterday’s reading that the LORD had promised to send quail to the people. And did he send the quail. For a day’s journey from the camp to a depth of three feet came the quail. To quote directly: “All that day and night and all the next day the people went out and gathered quail. No one gathered less than ten homers [i.e. about sixty bushels].” (Numbers 11:32 NIV) Why did the LORD strike the people with a plague? (It seems that even after they whined about getting “meat” as well as manna, still some of the people craved other food. Whatever the LORD provided was not good enough. Are we ever guilty of that kind of ingratitude?)