Prayer Psalm: 135
Prayer Point: Fear reigns in our hearts, when we forget and our God becomes small. This psalm reminds Israel of the miracles God performed on their behalf. How has God worked miracles in your life? Remember and thank God for them. Confess your fears to God. Pray for the faith to trust him and not the false gods we turn to when we are afraid.
A Pharisee invites Jesus to have dinner with him. Notice here what happens: The Pharisee offers no water for the feet of Jesus; he does not anoint his head with oil; he doesn’t offer him the kiss of greeting; all of which were expected by Jewish standards of hospitality.
Who shows love and hospitality to Jesus? How does Simon the Pharisee respond to the woman’s extravagant demonstration of love?
The posture of the Pharisee and the woman could not have been more different. How does Jesus explain the difference between Simon and the sinful woman? What did the sinful woman know that Simon did not?
Who goes home forgiven that night; the Pharisee who had a good reputation or the sinful woman who may well have been a prostitute? Why?
Stability was prized by the Romans as it was vital for maintaining control of an empire that stretched from Britain to the Middle East. How do Paul’s opponents work this need for peace into their charges against him? How does Paul defend himself?
Pay close attention to how Paul connects following Jesus (the Way) to the Jewish tradition he grew up with. Does Paul believe he is founding a new religion?
Micah 3:1-12- Political and Religious Leaders Condemned
To whom is Micah directing his diatribe at the beginning of Chapter three? (“Listen, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of the house of Israel.”(Micah 3:1 NIV))
What is Micah’s more specific complaint against the leaders? (While using rather graphic terms, Micah is indicting the leaders of oppressing the poor (the widows and orphans is what that generally means). “… you who hate good and love evil; who tear the skin from my people and the flesh from their bones; who eat my people’s flesh, strip off their skin and break their bones in pieces; who chop them up like meat for the pan, like flesh for the pot”. (Micah 3:2, 3 NIV))
When people are oppressed, they tend to cry out for help. The oppressors, on the other hand, tend to ignore the pleas for help from the oppressed. So what is in store for the oppressors who then apply to the LORD for help? (“Then they will cry out to the LORD, but he will not answer them. At that time he will hide his face from them because of the evil they have done.” (Micah 3:4 NIV))
Who is Micah’s next target? (Micah now trains his guns on the prophets. You may remember from the reading on Tuesday that Micah never identifies himself as a prophet nor does he indicate he had received any “call” to prophesy. I guess he does not want to be associated with that bunch. However, Micah does speak (in this case, writes) with great power.)
What is Micah’s indictment against the prophets? (Micah contends that if they are bribed (“…if one feeds them, they proclaim ‘peace’; if he does not, they prepare to wage war against him.” (Micah 3:5 NIV))
What is the fate of these “seers”? (Darkness! “Therefore night will come over you, without visions, and darkness, without divination. The sun will set for the prophets, and the day will go dark for them. … They will all cover their faces because there is no answer from God.” (Micah 3:6, 7 NIV) Note here that while the prophets “will all cover their faces” because the LORD does not “hear”, that it is the LORD who will hide his face from the (political) leaders for their oppression of the people (v. 4b).)
What does Micah say about himself (“But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might…” (Micah 3:8 NIV))
What then is Micah’s mission? (Micah’s job is “to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin.” (Micah 3:8b NIV))
Again, what is the sin of Israel’s leaders and rulers? (The sin of Israel’s leaders and rulers is that they “despise justice and distort all that is right” (v. 9b NIV); they “build Zion on bloodshed, and Jerusalem on wickedness.” (v. 10 NIV) Bribery is the norm for judges, priests, and fortunetellers.)
What is the refrain we hear from these prophets and fortune tellers? (“Is not the LORD among us? No disaster will come upon us.” (Micah 3:11 NIV))
What is Jerusalem’s fate because of all of this false prophesy? (“Therefore because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets” (Micah 3:12 NIV))