Daily Bible Readings – Monday September 24, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 79

Prayer Point:  Asaph stood among the ruins of what was Jerusalem, the capitol of Israel, and cried out, “How long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever?” You probably know someone, who, like Asaph, is mourning the ruins of their live and wondering if God has abandoned them.  Pray this psalm on their behalf.

Luke 3:1-14

How does John the Baptist fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy which is quoted in verses 4-6?

The Jews in John’s day were waiting with anticipation for the Lord (God) to return to Israel. They believed that his coming meant their salvation. What is striking about John’s message is that the coming of the LORD is equated to the “coming wrath” (verse 7). Israel believed that God was coming to rescue them by punishing their oppressors, in this case the Romans. They are right to say that God’s wrath is coming, but it is coming for them unless they radically change.

How were the people called to prepare for the coming of the Lord? How does John the Baptist explain ‘produce fruit in keeping with repentance’? Can you think of examples of what ‘producing fruit in keeping with repentance’ might look like in your life?

Acts 18:1-11

Paul brings the message of Jesus to the city of Corinth after preaching the gospel in Athens and establishing a small church from those who believed his message.

How did Paul support himself financially in Corinth? How did Paul use his business to train Aquilla and Priscilla? How did Paul’s role change once his assistants Silas and Timothy arrived in Corinth?

Where did Paul spend much of his time preaching when he first came to Corinth? Why? (See Romans 1:16.) What is his message to them (see verse 5)? Christ was not Jesus’ last name, but the Greek word for Messiah or the Anointed One, the King the Old Testament promised would be sent by God to save his people.

What causes Paul to leave the synagogue and preach to the Gentiles? (See Mark 6:8-11.) Where does he go and who goes with him? A synagogue ruler was the moderator or president of the local synagogue.

What causes Paul to stay in Corinth for a year and a half?

Esther 4:4-17 – Mordecai persuades Esther to help

What does Esther do when she hears of Mordecai’s actions? What does Mordecai do? (“When Esther’s maids and eunuchs came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes for him to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. (Esther 4:4 NIV))

What does Esther do to find out what is troubling Mordecai? (Esther sent a eunuch, Hathach by name, to find out what was troubling Mordecai.)

What does Mordecai do for Esther? (Mordecai fills in the details of Haman’s plan and how much he was willing to pay for it (ten thousand talents of silver or about 375 tons according to the NIV footnote). He also sends a copy of the edict to Esther to apprise her of the goings-on. It is clear that Esther had been insulated from all of the political intrigues of the court.)

What does Mordecai ask of Esther? (Mordecai, through Hathach, to appeal to the king on behalf of the Jews.)

What happens to be Esther’s dilemma? (“All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that he be put to death. The only exception to this is for the king to extend the gold scepter to him and spare his life.” (Esther 4:11 NIV) Oh, by the way, it has been thirty days since she last saw the king.)

What was Mordecai’s response to Esther? (Mordecai warned Esther that if she thought that being queen would spare her the same fate of all the other Jews she was sadly mistaken. Here Mordecai tells Esther: “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for just such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14 NIV) This also harkens to similarities to Joseph in Egypt.)

Notice, again, Esther’s deference to Mordecai. Here, even as queen, she defers to the older and wiser parent figure. Esther agrees to approach the king but before she does, what does she ask of Mordecai? (Esther asks Mordecai to gather all the Jews of Susa together to fast for her for three days. She will do the same with her household staff. “When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:16 NIV) This is the mark of a courageous and faith-filled woman.)

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