Daily Bible Readings – Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 119:145-176

Prayer Point: The Christian follows the Law by following Jesus. You might have noticed from this psalm that this is not easy. There are enemies, both human and spiritual, who seek to stop us, but there is a more potent foe who lurks in our own hearts (see verse 176). This is why Jesus commanded us to pray, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” What are the obstacles blocking you from following Jesus. Lift these to God and ask him for the strength to overcome them.

Luke 19:1-10

Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus is an example of the kingdom of God bringing salvation to the outcasts.

According to this passage Zacchaeus was a very rich man. Being the chief tax collector meant that he would be especially reviled by the Jews. Most tax collectors were cheats and gouged their Jewish counterparts by charging extra to line their own pockets.

Jesus calls Zacchaeus by name and asks to be his guest for dinner. How did the crowd respond? How does Zacchaeus respond to Jesus? Why does Jesus say that “today salvation has come to this house”?

Once again we see Jesus refer to himself as the Son of Man. Why is this significant? Look again at Daniel 7:13-14.

Ephesians 1:3-14

The book of Ephesians is a letter from the Apostle Paul to the church in Ephesus, a church plant that he oversaw. The letter opens in verse 3 with an extended prayer of praise to God the Father for the unfathomable blessings he has given us. In verses 3-10 Paul unpacks these treasures for us.

Through whom has God blessed us (verse 3)? For what purpose has God chosen us (verse 4)? Through whom are we adopted by God the Father as sons (verse 5)? In Paul’s day only sons received an inheritance. To say that men and women were both sons was quite a radical statement. In God’s family, women are entitled to the same blessings that men receive through the gospel. What is the purpose of our adoption (verse 6)? How have we received redemption and forgiveness (verses 7-8)? What mystery has been revealed to us (verses 9-10)?

The entire Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit work together to bring about salvation.

Which member of the Trinity chose us? Who are we joined with by hearing and believing the gospel of our salvation? Who is the seal, the down payment of the inheritance, we will receive from God?

Zechariah 12:1-10

To what does the LORD liken Jerusalem when she is besieged by “the nations” who surround her? (“On that day [sounds like the “day of the LORD ” — j.t.], when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. (Zechariah 12:3 NIV))

Why do the people of Jerusalem think they are strong? (“Then the leaders of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the LORD Almighty is their God.'” (Zechariah 12:5 NIV))

Who is the Lord calling to remembrance in verses 12:7-9? (David. David is mentioned three times in these two verses. He was, after all, “a man after my own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). This is how the LORD refers to his choice of a king once he had taken the kingdom away from Saul.)

Can you appreciate how the people would have been confused by verses 12:10-14? What can all of this have meant? It is hard to imagine what the people thought of what Zechariah was saying here. From The ESV Study Bible Notes p. 1767:

“Interest in Judah recedes as these verses focus primarily on the house of David and Jerusalem. The “pouring out” of the spirit elsewhere in the OT always indicates the pouring out of Gods Spirit (v. 10; see Ezekiel 39:29; Joel 2:28-29). The Spirit will give grace and pleas of mercy (supplication — NIV) (Zechariah 12:10), which implies both repentance on the part of the people and forgiveness from the LORD. They will mourn because of the one whom they have pierced (v. 10), a word that usually connotes being stabbed o death by a sword or spear (see Numbers 25:8). The mourning will be like that for a firstborn son, an only child on whom all hope for continuation of the family line rested [as when Abraham was asked to sacrifice his only son Isaac (see Genesis Chapter 22)], or like the mourning for (or at) Hadad-rimmon (Zechariah 12:11). Under one interpretation, Hadad-rimmon is a name for the Canaanite god, Baal, whose worship involved lament for is death and descent into the underworld. But it is doubtful that Zechariah would be predicting a day of blessing when Jerusalem’s mourning would resemble the mourning of those in a pagan worship ceremony. A better interpretation is that Hadad-rimmon could be the name of a town near Megiddo, making this a reference to the deep mourning that followed King Josiah’s death [perhaps the most righteous king in all of Judah’s history — j.t.] in a battle there (v. 11; see 2 Chron. 35:24). The identity of the one who is “pierced” (Zech. 12:10) and on whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem … look is difficult to discern. If on me is defined by the following phrase (“whom they have pierced”), then the reference is to God himself, perhaps in the person of the shepherd who will be struck in 13:7, a prophecy that John 19:37 sees fulfilled in the person of Jesus. The mourning will affect he entire community, family by family, men and women alike. Two particular lines are singled out: the royal line of David, by way of his son Nathan (Zech. 12:12; cf. 1 Chron. 14:4 [a listing of the immediate sons of David], and the priestly line of Levi (Zech 12:13) by way of his grandson Shimei (1 Chron. 6:16-17 [a ponderous listing of the sons and descendants of Levi — j.t.].

 

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