Daily Bible Readings – Monday October 15, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 2

Prayer Point:  It is easy to forget about the power of God when we watch news or read the papers. Psalm 2 reminds us that Jesus, the Anointed One, is on the throne.  He is in control. Pray that these words might become real to us, that we might live in our world with bold, fearless love.

Luke 8:26-39

Jesus has just embarked on an important rescue mission by sailing across the Sea of Galilee. You get the sense that both Christ and the forces that oppose Jesus recognize the importance of this mission because the sea, regarded in the ancient world as the domain of evil, threw everything it had at Jesus to prevent his safe arrival. See Luke 8:22-25 for details on this storm.

How many people has Jesus come to save on this trip? Is he a Jew or a Gentile? Look at the details that Luke gives us about the village. Notice the type of animals the residents are raising and remember that pigs were considered unclean animals by the Jews.

The name Legion means ‘many’ but also calls to mind the brutal Roman Legions which occupied Israel at the time. The abyss is a place where the wicked are held awaiting God’s judgment.

The healed man wants to follow Jesus. Why does Jesus refuse his request? What is he asked to do instead? How much do you need to know in order to serve as a witness of Jesus?

Acts 26:1-23

The apostle Paul has been charged by the Jewish authorities as a disturber of the peace, someone who was hellbent on destroying Jewish customs and had defiled the temple by smuggling a Gentile into it (see Acts 24:5-7). The Romans weren’t concerned about Jewish tradition so much, but they did care about peace and stability. Their empire depended on “peace” even if it was imposed by the sword.

Paul has been in prison for several years now, not because the Romans considered him to be a criminal, but because they feared that the Jews would riot. Finally, Paul has his day in court before King Agrippa.

Why does Paul consider himself fortunate to be in Agrippa’s court? What story does Paul chose to tell considering that Agrippa is sympathetic to the Jewish faith?

Paul’s opponents were trying to say that he was out to destroy the Jewish faith. How does Paul demonstrate that Jesus is not the end of the Jewish faith, but the fulfillment of its hopes and dreams (see verse 6-8)? How does Paul explain his sudden conversion? How does he account for his enemies’ hatred? What did the prophets and Moses (the Old Testament) say about Jesus’ life in verses 22-23.

Micah 7:1-7

Micah Chapter 7 describes a world no one wants to live in. Who is the one “who gathers summer fruit at the gleaning of the vineyard”? (It is the poor and the alien who gathered the gleanings of the harvest. See the book of Ruth for an application of “gleaning” in the fields.)

What is the explanation in verse 7:2 which sheds light on the dismal scenario of verse 7:1? (“The godly have been swept from the land; not one upright man remains.” (NIV))

What are the attributes described in verses 7:2b-4a of these “ungodly” ones? (“All men lie in wait to shed blood; both hands are skilled in doing evil; the judge accepts bribes; the powerful dictate…they all conspire together.”)

Who is the “watchman” mentioned in verse 7:4b? (“The day of your watchman has come…” (NIV) The watchman is the prophet whose job it is to keep everyone on the “straight and narrow”. Remember that Micah had never identified himself as a prophet which, I think, gives his message “gravitas” (weight).)

What is the unfortunate theme of verses of 7:5-8? (The overriding theme of those verses is a lack of trust even in one’s own home. No one can be trusted.)

What is Micah’s plan? (“But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.” (Micah 7:7 NIV))

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