Daily Bible Readings – Saturday July 7, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 104

Prayer Point: The evidence of God’s greatness is all around us. The question is whether we will take the time to notice. Psalm 104 worships the creativity and power of our God, who not only made the world, but sustains it. It is God who made the creatures of the world. It is God who provided them homes and food. It is God who placed rhythms in his world. It is God who provides us daily with the breath of life. Stop today, meditate on the world God has made and worship him.

Matthew 22:23-40

The Sadducees were a sect of Judaism that did not believe in “dangerous ideas” such as life after death and the resurrection. This helped them curry favor with the Romans and they rewarded them with positions of authority in Israel including controlling the temple. Although they were the bitter enemies of the Pharisees, they shared a common fear of Jesus.

How do the Sadducees attempt to discredit Jesus and the idea of resurrection? How does Jesus undo their question? What don’t they understand about marriage in our resurrected lives? How does Jesus prove the reality of the resurrection from the history of Israel (verses 32)?

Jesus has just silenced both the Pharisees (Matthew 22:15-22) and the Sadducees (Matthew 22:23-33), so the bitter rivals team up to discredit their common enemy.

What two commandments make up the greatest commandment?

“All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” All of the Old Testament, all that Jesus taught boils down to two simple commandments that are so tightly linked that cannot be mentioned apart from each other. Love God and love your neighbor for it is impossible to love God without loving your neighbor.

Romans 8:18-25

How does Paul view his present suffering in verse 18? What hope does he have for himself and all of  God’s creation?

Paul calls the first signs of God’s restored creation the “firstfruits of the Spirit.”  In some sense this new world has already begun for us because we have these firstfruits. While the new world has already begun what do we look forward to? How does this hope impact us and the way we live today?

Numbers 24:15-25     Balaam’s Prophecy Concerning David

Balaam is dispatched without ceremony but before he leaves he imparts a warning to Balak concerning Israel.  The important prophecy goes like this: “I see him, but not now, I behold him, but not near.  A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel.  He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the sons of Sheth.  Edom will be conquered; Seir, his enemy, will be conquered, but Israel will grow strong.  A ruler will come out of Jacob and destroy the survivors of the city.” (Numbers 24:17-19 NIV)

At this point in time the Israelites had yet to enter the Promised Land.  The fact is, they do not conquer all the peoples they were charged with conquering.  It is not until the time of David and Solomon when the kingdom actually achieves the borders which will be outlined to Moses and Joshua.  The king (scepter) spoken of by Balaam is King David.  Like all good prophecies, they are best read from a “rear-view mirror” i.e., after the event has occurred.
The remaining oracle of Balaam is probably more meaningful to his contemporaries than to us today.

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