Daily Bible Readings – Sunday, October 14, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 113

Prayer Point:  This psalm offers us some reasons to praise the name of the Lord.  Meditate on the ones that resonate with you and offer God your own prayer of thanksgiving.

Matthew 15:21-28

Jesus expands his ministry beyond the borders of Israel to the cities of Tyre and Sidon in Phoenicia (Lebanon). Now comes the moment of truth, a Canaanite woman an “accursed” Gentile cries out to Jesus desperate for him to heal her demon-possessed daughter.

How does Jesus test the woman’s faith and critique the racist attitudes towards Gentiles that were common in Israel? What does Jesus see in this woman that moves him to heal her daughter? How was her great faith expressed?

1 Corinthians 4:8-16

Read this portion of Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church keeping in mind that this church was among the wealthiest of its time.

How did the Corinthians self-perception of being wealthy affect the way they viewed Paul and the other apostles? How did the apostles’ way of life challenge the Corinthian way of life? How does it challenge you? You might want to compare the apostle’s experience with the way of life Jesus laid out in Matthew 5:1-11.

What would it look like for the Corinthian church to make Paul their spiritual father (see especially verse 16)? How would this new father-son relationship change the way they lived? What present sins would be overcome?

Micah 6:1-8 – The Indictment of the LORD

What is Micah doing as this chapter opens? (Micah is addressing himself to mountains, hills and “foundations” i.e., all of creation, that they should hear what the LORD has to say. I suppose that if one has been preaching (read prophesying) long enough without any kind of response, it should not be surprising that the preacher might then address nature which is not expected to make a response. Just kidding! The prophet’s job is to present God’s message regardless of the response: he does not need to know how the people respond. Here Micah is inviting the LORD to make his case against Israel (or what’s left of it).)

What is the charge that God is making against Israel? (It appears that Israel has (again!) forgotten God and his laws. The LORD then (very briefly) reminds the people just a few of the things he has done for them. The LORD wants Israel to remember.)

Yes, lack of memory of what God had done is usually what happens to complacent people (like us). Our attitude is: “That’s fine, but what are you going to do for me today!” We can’t remember so far yesterday. What is the other complaint of the LORD against his people? (The people presume to know what they should be “doing” for the LORD, i.e., sacrifices and burnt offerings and such. “With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? … Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” (Micah 6:6, 7b) The LORD will make exactly this kind of sacrifice in time to come.)

Okay, we know that God does not eat the flesh of bulls nor drink the blood of goats. So what does he want? (“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8 NIV) “Forgive us trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” (Matt. 6:12 NIV))

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