Prayer Psalm: 69
Prayer Point: Listen for the voice of Jesus as you read this psalm today. Imagine him praying Psalm 69 as he endures his crucifixion. If you are struggling, remember that Jesus has been there and suffered in your place. Offer God praise because he did hear this prayer and reached down and plucked him from the waters of death. Because he lives, we will live also. Pray that this hope will become real to you today.
What question weighs heavily on Mary, Mary and Salome as they approached Jesus’ tomb? Jesus’ tomb had been sealed by Pontius Pilate with a detachment of soldiers left to guard the tomb. The religious leaders and the Romans were afraid because Jesus said that he was going to rise from the dead. Who opens the tomb? What do the women hear from the angel? Who do they see on the road back to the disciples?
Jesus promised in Acts 1:8, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” In Acts 2 this promise is fulfilled.
Understanding the Old Testament background will bring the events of Acts 2 into clearer focus.
The Hebrew word for “spirit” also means “breath and wind.” In Genesis 2:7, God literally breathes his spirit into the lifeless form of Adam and he becomes a living man. Here we see the spirit/wind/breath of God again. What is coming alive this time?
Pentecost was originally a Jewish holiday set 50 days after the festival of Passover. It celebrated the firstfruits of the harvest. Peek ahead to Acts 2:41. What “firstfruits of the harvest” do you see here?
Each year, pious Jews and “God-fearers” (Gentiles who practiced Judaism) made a pilgrimage to the city of Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. They stayed from Passover until the festival of Pentecost swelling the population of the city. The crowds (see Acts 2:9) witnessed the death of Christ on Passover and now they see the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost as their pilgrimage comes to an end. Why did God time these events this way? What will these pilgrims do with what they have just witnessed? Look back at Acts 1:8. What does God expect the church to do with the message of Jesus? Is it supposed to stay put?
In Genesis 10 there is a story of people who attempted to build a tower to heaven called the “Tower of Babel.” God seeing that this tower will inspire humanity to new heights of wickedness, scatters the people by confusing their speech. The people began the project speaking a common language, but God divided them into different language groups. Where do you see the Tower of Babel in reverse? Why do you think the Holy Spirit gave the crowds the ability to hear the message of Jesus in their own language?
Judges 5:1-18 – An Ode to Praise
After a great victory it was customary to compose a song of praise or victory. There is a great sense of celebration in the opening lines of this psalm. “I will sing to the LORD, I will sing; I will make music to the LORD, the God of Israel.” (Judges 5:3 NIV) Deborah then goes on to give the LORD the credit for this great victory.
How does Deborah describe herself in verse 7? (“Village life in Israel ceased, ceased until I, Deborah, arose, arose a mother in Israel.” (Judges 5:7 NIV)
What does Deborah tell us happens when the people turn to “new gods”? (“When they chose new gods, war came to the city gates, and not a shield or spear was seen among forty thousand in Israel.” (Judges 5:8))
The following sections addresses each of the tribes of Israel and the contributions they made to the battle enjoined that day.