Prayer Psalm: 83
Prayer Point: Psalm 83 is a call for God’s judgment to be poured out on enemies. Meditate and pray this psalm following these lines of thought: How am I deserving of the judgment described in this psalm? In what way did Jesus endure this wrath in our place? Finally, pray to surrender all matters of justice to God.
Jesus offended the religious leaders of his time by scandalously eating with “lost” sinners and tax collectors. Jesus responds with three stories that reveal God’s heart for those who are lost in their sin. The third and most famous of these stories, the Prodigal Son, is recounted in today’s reading.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you read this story:
There are two lost sons in the story. One is more obvious than the other.
Demanding inheritance from your father while he is living is the same as saying, “I wish you were dead.”
Respectable men did not humiliate themselves by running in public.
God is the Father in this story. The two sons are two ways of being a “lost” sinner.
How would you describe the lostness of the younger son? What causes him to come home?
Imagine you are the father watching the son who wished you dead come stumbling home having squandered your honor and half the family fortune. How would you have responded? What did it cost the Father to embrace his son? What did it cost God to embrace us? In what way was God humiliated? See Luke 23:26-46.
Why does the older brother miss the celebration? In what way is the older brother like the Pharisees of Luke 15:1-2? In what way is the older brother like us?
The book of James was written by James, the brother of Jesus. He was well respected in the Jewish community as both a righteous man and a pillar of the church in Jerusalem. His writing, as you will see, is practical. He wants to see the teachings of Jesus lived out by his followers.
How are Christians to view suffering? What good can came from trials?
How should we approach God to ask him for wisdom?
Why is wealth considered to be a low position? How should poor Christians view their poverty? Compare this teaching to Jesus’ (see Luke 6:20-26).
What blessing is promised to those who persevere through suffering?
What is the source of our temptations? Where does sin lead if it goes unchecked?
What is the Lord going to do? (He will remove the northerner [invader?]; drive him to a parched land and his guards (vanguard and rear guard) into the sea (eastern sea: Dead Sea; western sea: Mediterranean Sea); the pastures will be green; trees will bear fruit; the vine will yield grapes — the return of prosperity.)
How will the LORD bring about all this abundance? (He will send abundant rains; “the threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.” (Joel 2:24 ESV) He will restore what the locusts (or what the armies) had destroyed.)
What does the LORD promise in verses Joel 2:26-27? (“You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame.” (Joel 2:26 ESV))