Prayer Psalm: 20
Prayer Point: This psalm is not a prayer for ourselves. David is asking that God will save the king, for when he is victorious, all of us will be saved. Who is David talking about? Jesus. He is the king that was heard when God the Father raised him from the dead. We know that ‘God saves his anointed’ because Jesus lives. Pray that God will change us by giving us all the hope of the resurrection and eternal life.
Why is Jesus disappointed in his disciples when he comes down the mountain? What are they lacking?
Once again Jesus tells his disciples that he will have to die. Why didn’t the disciples understand (see notes on Luke 8:18-27)? Why do you think Jesus hid the answers from them?
In the days of Christ children were considered the lowest of the low on the social ladder. Jesus in verse 48 flips the world’s understanding upside down. What does it take to be considered great according to Jesus?
Verses 49-50 “for whoever is not against you is for you.” What does this mean? Why is Jesus not interested in stopping a man who was casting out demons in His name even though he wasn’t an “official” disciple?
As the book of Acts comes to a close, let’s take a step back at look at the ground we’ve covered. The book opened with the resurrected Christ giving a promise to his disciples:
Acts 1:8 But you receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of earth.
Acts is a story of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the church in Jerusalem (chapter 2). The shockwaves of that event, Pentecost, radiate out like the ripples of a rock hitting the water; first Jerusalem, then Judea and Samaria, and finally the ends of the earth. The message was given to Israel and then extended to the Gentiles, and so God calls a people for himself from every nation under heaven.
Who does Paul preach to when he gets to Rome? How does he explain his appearance in Rome? What sources does Paul use to convince the Jews of Jesus’ message about the Kingdom of God? Note that Law of Moses and the Prophets is the Jewish way of saying “Old Testament.” What kind of response does Paul get? Why does he decide to preach to the Gentiles? As the story ends, how do we know that the promise to take the message of Jesus to the ends of the earth has been fulfilled?
2 Kings 25:8-16, 22-26
You can best understand Israel’s story through the lens of their special relationship or covenant with God. When God rescued his people from Egypt he created a covenant with them. If Israel remained loyal to God, God promised to bless them. If they broke his covenant …
Deuteronomy 28:32 Your sons and daughters will be given to another nation, and you will wear out your eyes watching for them day after day, powerless to lift a hand .
By the time Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians finished with Jerusalem, who and what is left? What happens to Zedekiah because of his lack of faith and courage? What happens to the temple? What happens to the small remnant left behind in Judah? Where of all places do they flee?
17 My child, perform your tasks with humility;
then you will be loved by those whom God accepts
18 The greater you are, the more you must humble yourself;
so you will find favor in the sight of the LORD.
[19 Many are lofty and renowned,
but to the humble he reveals his secrets.]
20 For great is the might of the LORD;
but by the humble he is glorified.
21 Neither seek what is too difficult for you,
nor investigate what is beyond your power.
22 Reflect upon what you have been commanded,
for what is hidden is not your concern.
23 Do not meddle in matters that are beyond you,
for more than you can understand has been shown you.
24 For their conceit has led many astray,
and wrong opinion has impaired their judgment.
25 Without eyes there is no light;
without knowledge there is no wisdom.
26 A stubborn mind will fare badly at the end,
and whoever loves danger will perish in it.
27 A stubborn mind will be burdened by troubles,
and the sinner adds sin to sins.
28 When calamity befalls the proud, there is no healing,
for an evil plant has taken root in him.
29 The mind of the intelligent appreciates proverbs,
and an attentive ear is the desire of the wise.
30 As water extinguishes a blazing fire,
so almsgiving atones for sin.
31 Those who repay favors give thought to the future;
when they fall they will find support.
Humility — Now that’s a subject I know nothing about!
What is the caution about being great? (“The greater you are, the more you must humble yourself; so you will find favor in the sight of the LORD.” (Sirach 3:18 NRV))
To whom does the LORD reveal his secrets? (“Many are lofty and renowned but to the humble he reveals his secrets.” (Sirach 3:19 NRSV))
How is the LORD glorified? (“For great is the might of the LORD; but by the humble he is glorified.” (Sirach 3:20 NRSV))
What is the principal advice delivered in verses 3:21-24? (Be content with what you have and what you know. Mind your own business. (“Neither seek what is too difficult for you, nor investigate what is beyond your power. … What is hidden is not your concern. … Do not meddle in matters that are beyond you, for more than you can understand has been shown you.” (Sirach 3:21, 22, 23 NRSV))
What is the analogy expressed in verse 3:25? (Light is to the eyes as knowledge is to wisdom.)
What does Sirach have to say about stubbornness and foolishness? (“A stubborn mind will fare badly at the end, and whoever loves danger [fool] will perish in it.” (Sirach 3:27 NRSV))
What else does Sirach say about the stubborn man? (He will be burdened by troubles — and the sinner adds sin to sins.)
“And the sinner adds sin to sins…” What may that mean? (A sinner would be someone whose conscience may not bother him when he does wrong. He may then become inured [accustomed to accept something undesirable] to the ramifications of his behavior. This is a very dangerous place to be — to have a conscience which has become insensitive or dull.)
What is the “evil plant” spoken of in verse 3:28? (Pride.)
What is the desire of the wise (verse 3:29)? (“…and an attentive ear is the desire of the wise.” (NRSV))
Do you agree with verse 3:30: “…so almsgiving atones for sin”? (Personally I don’t think that is good advice: it could lead to “buying” forgiveness such as was rampant during the late Middle Ages/early Renaissance/Reformation. This was one of the principal reasons for the Reformation.)