Daily Bible Readings – Thursday July 5, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 134

Prayer Point:  Psalm 134 was a prayer of blessing for the priests who served on the night watch at the temple, preparing it  for the sacrifices of the next day. We too can imagine that brothers and sisters in Christ were praying and serving God while we slept. Pray that God will bless his people who live and serve him on the other side of the globe.

Matthew 22:1-14

Like the Parable of the Tenants (Matthew 21:33-46) and the Parable of the Two Sons (Matthew 21:28-31), the Parable of the Wedding Banquet, today’s reading, is a story about who will enter the kingdom of God and who will be shut out.

How do those who are invited to the feast respond? Who winds up coming to the wedding feast for the king’s son? Who is thrown out of the banquet and why?

What is interesting is that wedding clothes were often distributed to the guests at wedding feasts in Jesus’ day. If this is the case, the guest was not properly dressed because he had refused the clothes offered by the king.

Once again, Jesus tells the story with the intention of shocking his hearers. Those whom they thought were in (“the invited”) are shut out and the those on the outside, are brought in. This scenario played itself out in the years after Jesus’ ministry. Because the Jews largely rejected the gospel, in their place, waves of Gentiles came to believe and were thus welcomed to the Wedding Feast of God’s Son (heaven).  Many believe that prophecy that the king will burn their city to the ground (verse 7) refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Romans 8:1-11

In Christ there is now no _______________.

Paul sets up a contrast between the ‘law of sin and death’ and the ‘law of the Spirit of Life’.  What is the Law of the Spirit of Life able to do, that the law of sin and death was unable to do? How did Jesus set us free from the law of sin and death?

The law of sin and death (Old Testament) demanded death for those who broke it, unless someone who was perfect and lived up to its requirements gave up his life as a sacrifice for those who were condemned. Jesus’ death releases us from the curse of the law of sin and death so that we might live a  new life according to the law of the Spirit of Life.

How does life controlled by the flesh/sinful nature contrast to life controlled by the Spirit?  What will the Spirit of God do for our bodies that are deadened by sin?

Numbers 23:13-26       The Next Attempt

Not satisfied with those results, Balak makes another foray into the battle against the LORD’s people.  As it happened, it did not please the Lord to change his mind so the results were pretty much the same as the first attempt.  This time Balaam is more specific and pointed in his blessing of Israel.  Here he heaps praise on the God of Israel: “Arise, Balak, and listen; hear me, son of Zippor.  God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.  Does he speak and not act?  Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:18-19 NIV)

There is no misfortune nor misery seen in Jacob.  The _________________   ________________  _______________ (the LORD their God) is with them.

To what is their strength likened?  (Their strength is likened to the strength of a wild ox.)

What power(s) is destined to fail against Israel? (Sorcery and divination)

What “prophecy” does Balaam make concerning Israel in this oracle?  (“The people rise like a lioness; they rouse themselves like a lion that does not rest till he devours his prey and drinks the blood of his victims.” (Numbers 23:24 NIV))

What is Balak’s plea now?  (“Then Balak said to Balaam, ‘Neither curse them at all nor bless them at all!’” (Numbers 23:25 NIV))

Balaam retorts with something like “I told you so…” phrased this way: “Did I not tell you I must do whatever the LORD says?” (Numbers 23:26 NIV)

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