Prayer Psalm: 142
Prayer Point: David prayed this prayer while hiding in fear in the back of deep, dark cave. You know someone in this place. Pray Psalm 142 on their behalf today.
The crowds following Jesus swell after the feeding a crowd of 5000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish. The people, believing Jesus to be the Messiah and wanting to make him king, went on a frantic search for him. They find him on the far side of the lake.
Jesus understands that the pursuing crowds are motivated by their hunger for what is temporary. What greater food are the crowds called to work for? What is the only work God requires for the food that endures to eternal life (see verse 29)?
One reason the crowds are so energized is that Jesus reminds them of Moses who led Israel from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land. While Israel wandered in the desert, God provided daily bread or “manna” that fell like dew on the ground. They believed it was Moses who gave them “bread from heaven.” Jesus had given them a taste of Moses. They wanted him to do it again but Jesus has a greater bread in mind.
Who or what is the true bread or bread of life that comes down from heaven? What is promised to those who come to Jesus? Who will come to Jesus and how will Jesus receive them? What is God the Father’s will? How does Jesus, God the Son, carry it out?
The church of Jesus Christ (also called “the Way” in Acts 9:2) continues to grow despite opposition from men like Saul. He persecuted the Christians believing that he was saving Judaism and the nation of Israel itself. The murders were an act of devotion to God. Frankly, his thinking is not that much different from that of a Muslim terrorist. But now in chapter 9, God is about to make his boldest move yet.
Devout Jews lived with the hope that one day they would be worthy of seeing the face of God. What happens to Saul when he finally does meet God? What does God ask him? Can you imagine believing that you were serving God with all your life and all that effort and to hear this question on God’s lips? What kind of an effect would that have on you? Why do you think God struck Saul blind at this point? Give that some thought.
Job 2:1-13 – Satan is not done yet
What is Satan’s next dare to the LORD? (“‘Skin for skin!’ Satan replied. ‘A man will give all he has for his own life. But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.” (Judge 2:4 NIV))
What is Satan’s next target regarding Job? (Satan wants permission to make life physically unbearable for Job – but the LORD will not let him take Job’s life.)
How does Satan afflict Job? (Satan strikes Job with boils from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head.)
What does Job do when he gets his boils? (“Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him [a terrific help meet (KJV for wife)– j.t.], ‘Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!’ He replied, ‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.” (Job 2:9-10 NIV))
Who comes to comfort Job? (Job has three friends who come to comfort him in his distress. They are Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite.)
What do his friends do when they see Job? (“When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads.” (Job 2:12))
What do these three men do which had to be near impossible? (“Then they sat on the ground with him for seven (!) days and seven nights. No one said a word to him because they saw how great his suffering was.” (Job 2:13 NIV))