Daily Bible Readings – Saturday, December 22, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 138

Prayer Point: When Jesus taught us to pray, “hallowed be your name,” he may have had this Psalm in mind. David so treasures God that he is not content to worship him himself, he wants the whole earth to praise him. Pick two or three of the reasons David gives to worship God that jump out and offer him your own psalm of praise. Pray that you will give an opportunity to share what you’ve learned in this psalm with someone in your life so that might praise him as well.

Luke 3:1-9 

Background. Luke, the author of this book, was as a historian. You’ll notice that he is keen to demonstrate that John the Baptist was a real historical figure who ministered in the area of the Jordan River in the years 27-29 AD.

John the Baptist’s coming was foretold hundreds of years earlier by the prophet Isaiah (see verses 4-6). His role is to prepare the people of Israel for Jesus, who will bring God’s salvation.

Pay close attention …

  • How John the Baptist prepares the people for Jesus’ arrival.
  • What troubles him about the crowds that are coming out to hear him and how he warns them.

Listen. Believe. Obey. Share
What is the passage saying? About God? About ourselves? (Listen)
What is God asking us to believe? (Believe)
What is God asking us to do? (Obey)
Who can we share this with? (Share)

Jude 17-25 

Background. Jude, the author of this letter, is the brother of James (the one who wrote the book of James) and the half brother of Jesus. Jude is quite similar to the 2 Peter, which we have been reading this week, in both form and theme. Both books are circular letters in that they were written to Christians in general and circulated among the churches. Jude, like 2 Peter, also warns Christians of false teachers who will infiltrate the church and threaten their faith.

Pay close attention to …
The characteristics and tactics of these false teachers or scoffers (see verses 17-19).
How Christians are to stand up to these false teachers (see verses 20-21).
How we are to encourage others who are susceptible to these false teachers and are in danger of abandoning their faith in Jesus. (verses 22-23).
The only person who can keep us from falling (verses 24-25).

Listen. Believe. Obey. Share
What is the passage saying? About God? About ourselves? (Listen)
What is God asking us to believe? (Believe)
What is God asking us to do? (Obey)
Who can we share this with? (Share)

Isaiah 10:20-27        The Promise to the Remnant

On whom will the remnant of Israel and the survivors [which never sounds good] of the house of Jacob lean? (“In that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on him who struck them [Assyria — the immediate culprit], but will lean on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.” (Isaiah 10:20 ESV))

What expression is used in this reading which will trigger thoughts of the “end of the age”? (The phrase “In that day…” occurs in verse 10:20 and 10:27. This is very different from “For in a very little while…” which is slated for Assyrian judgment.)

What is significant about the term “remnant”? (The use of the term “remnant” drives home the point that “many are called but few are chosen” as Jesus would later say. (See Matthew 22:14) The prophecy to Abraham was that his descendants would be numbered like the stars or like the sand on the seashore; so great that they could not be counted. Here we are told that but a remnant of all that great multitude will “survive”.)

What does “Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness.” mean? (We have seen that idolatry is rampant all over. Certainly in the foreign nations but now also among God’s own people. It is a serious sin to worship anyone or anything except the LORD — see the Second of the Ten Commandments. This evil is far more offensive than we can imagine against such a holy God. That is why he does not take it lightly. Such idolatry requires a holy and just God to remove it by whatever means he deems just. So he will destroy but his destruction is just. “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?'”” (Isaiah 45:9 ESV) Actually, God doesn’t have to answer to us anyway — it truly is none of our business. So we end up with “destruction overflowing with righteousness.”.)

Perhaps I got a little ahead of myself. Verse 10:26 mentions that the LORD had “struck Midian at the rock of Oreb”. This I referred to above (ahem, yesterday) in my reference to Gideon.

This section closes with another reference to “in that day” which I take to mean Jesus’ second advent (coming).

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