Prayer Psalm: 31
Prayer Point: Jesus commanded us to love our enemies, but we have ignored this command deeming it impossible. We reach for the gun, instead of God. But the voice of Psalm 31 entrapped by his enemies cries out: ‘Into your hands I commit my spirit.’ These words take on special significance when we realize that these are the last words of the crucified Christ as he laid down his life for us, his enemies. Meditate on the amazing love of God and pray for the faith to imitate the love of Christ today.
Jesus goes to his death, not as a hapless victim, but as a man who is in firm control of his destiny.
How does Jesus show his authority in the preparations for the Passover? … in his interactions with Judas his betrayer? Is Judas held responsible for his betrayal even though it was always the plan for the Son of Man (Jesus) to lay down his life? Why do you think God holds us responsible for our decisions even though he is in control?
Jesus’ way of life boils down to two commands: “Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.” Reduced even further, you are left with one word, ‘love’. Paul fleshes out for us Jesus’ vision of love in today’s reading. What does love look like within the church (verses 9-13)? How are we to express love to those outside the church (verse 14-21)? Which challenges you more?
Joshua 4:19-5:1-15 The “Sign of the Covenant” (Circumcision) Re-introduced
What month and day did the people go up from the Jordan and camp at Gilgal (on the eastern border of Jericho)? (“On the tenth day of the first month…” (Joshua 4:19 NIV))
The LORD had commanded that one man from each tribe gather a stone from the Jordan (12 in all) and then build and altar to him. The purpose of the altar was to serve as a reminder that the LORD had dried up the Jordan so that Israel could cross over. What was the other purpose of the stones? (“He did this so that all the people of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.” (Joshua 4:24 NIV))
What effect did the miracle at the Jordan have on the kings of the surrounding area? (“Now when all the Amorite kings [remember from last week Sihon king of the Amorites – the loser of the battle?] and all the Canaanite kings along the seacoast heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until we had crossed over, their hearts sank and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites.” (Joshua 5:1 NIV))
Why did the Lord command Joshua to make flint knives for circumcision? (“Now this is why he did so: All those who came out of Egypt – all the men of military age – died in the desert on the way after leaving Egypt. All the people that came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the desert during the journey from Egypt had not. … So he raised up their sons in their place [of those who had died in the wilderness], and these were the ones Joshua circumcised. They were still uncircumcised because they had not been circumcised on the way.” (Joshua 5:4-5, 7 NIV))
Why was it important for the men to be circumcised now? (This was the first month of the year. On the fourteenth of the month the Passover was to be celebrated. No uncircumcised male could partake of the Passover – Hebrew or alien (foreigner))
What happened to the supply of “daily bread” (manna) the day after the Passover? (“The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate of the produce of Canaan.” (Joshua 5:11-12 NIV))
Joshua then has an encounter which is reminiscent of Moses’ first encounter with the LORD. What was said to bring up that memory? (“Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, ‘What message does my Lord have for his servant?’ The commander of the LORD’s army replied, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.’” (Joshua 14b-15 NIV))