Prayer Psalm: 45
Prayer Point: Read this psalm keeping in mind that Jesus is the king and we the church are his bride. Read in this light, Psalm 45 becomes an example of what it means to pray, “your kingdom come, your will be done as it is in heaven.” Meditate on what this psalm says about how Christ feels us about us. Notice the dreams that are expressed and pray that God’s dreams for the world will be realized.
Judas, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, has betrayed him into the hands of the Jewish leaders. What strikes you about the way Jesus addresses his betrayer?
We know from the gospel of Mark that it was Peter who struck off the ear of the high priest’s servant. He is striking the first blow to defend Jesus. Why does Jesus call Peter to put his sword away? Why doesn’t he need Peter to defend him? What does Jesus do to his enemies instead? How does Jesus’ example instruct us in confronting evil in our time?
What does Jesus know that allows him to express love to Judas, kindness to the wounded servant and courage in the face of his attackers (see verses 54 and 56)?
Every church is going to have some people with stronger faith and others with weaker faith. For Paul, those with strong faith have a better grasp of Jesus, his gospel, and how it is lived out. In this chapter, those with stronger faith understood that there is no problem with eating meat or that the special holidays from Judaism no longer needed to be honored, but those of weaker faith had not yet come to that level of wisdom. So what do you do if there is a difference of opinion? How are those of strong faith to treat those of weak faith? Why?
Joshua 8:1-23 Ai’s Fate
In the conquest of Ai the LORD will be the general of the Israelite army. He plans the strategy. What is the LORD’s strategy? (“Set an ambush behind the city.” (Joshua 8:2 NIV) Joshua sent his men out at night with these orders: “Listen carefully. You are to set an ambush behind the city. Don’t go very far from it. All of you be on the alert. I and all those with me will advance on the city, and when the men come out against us, as they did before, we will flee from them. They will pursue us until we have lured them away from the city, for they will say, ‘They are running away from us as they did before.’” (Joshua 8:4-6 NIV))
The first time around Ai had the victory – though it was not their own. Remember, they had killed thirty-six Israelites; not something anyone would consider a trouncing. Now Ai must feel a sense of superiority over Israel. They are unfazed by the appearance of the Israeli army. What they don’t know is, of course, that the greater force of the Israelis is actually behind them. What was the end result? (The men of Ai pursue Joshua and his forces and while they are chasing after them, the ambushers took the city and set it on fire. The men of Ai turned and saw their city on fire and realized that the trap had been sprung. Joshua and his forces then turn and run toward the king of Ai and his men while the ambushers pursue the men of Ai from the other direction. All were killed except the king of Ai who was then brought to Joshua. (verse 8:23))