Daily Bible Readings – Friday, December 28, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 148

Prayer Point: All of creation gets into the act of praising God with this psalm.   Look around you today, notice the beauty of all that God has made. Stars, planets, whales, oceans, mountains, lions, squirrels and eagles all exist to reflect the creative glory of God our Lord and Creator.  Join with God’s creation today in praising him.

Luke 1:57-66

Background. Elizabeth, the wife of the priest Zechariah and cousin to Mary, the mother of Jesus, gives birth to her son, John the Baptist. Elizabeth was an old woman and being childless was a great source of shame as most people at that time believed infertility to be a sign of God’s judgment.

It is now the eighth day after John’s birth, which was the day Jewish boys were named and circumcised. Boys were typically named after their father or a close male relative, but Elizabeth insists that he be named John in accordance to the instructions given by the angel (Luke 1:13). She speaks for her husband Zechariah, because he had been struck dumb by the angel for his unbelief and who could blame him, would you believe an angel in he told you that your elderly wife was about conceive?

Pay close attention to …

  • What happens to Zechariah when he names his Son in obedience to the angel’s instructions.
  • The reaction of the neighbors.

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)

Revelation 22:6-11, 18-20

Background. As the book of Revelation comes to a close, John has a conversation with the angel who has guided through his visions he wrote down in this book. The visions were given for two reasons: to give hope to a persecuted church and to give us a view of our final home.

Pay close attention to …

  • How the angel reacts to being worshiped.
  • What John is instructed to do with the visions he has received.
  • John’s warning to all of us who read this book.

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 33:17-22 – The Messiah King 

Of whom is Isaiah speaking in this passage? (Isaiah is describing the Messiah King. This is one of the two images we have from Isaiah of the Messiah. This is the picture of the King we want to see now. That was also the heart’s desire (and perhaps demand) of Jesus’ very followers. When we experience difficulty, especially an oppression of the sort that the Jews of Jesus’ day faced, we are looking for a conquering hero. The people were in trouble and faced great difficulty, but that was nothing compared to the root of their problems. Before the Messiah King can come in glory, he must first come as an atonement for the people. He must effect a redemption from sin. He must die for the nation. This aspect of the Messiah’s mission must have been in small print because it came as a big surprise to all of Jesus’ followers as well as the Jewish ruling elite in his day. The advent we are experiencing today is in advance of Jesus’ second coming. Now he will return like the Messiah King described here. — j.t.)

Who are the “insolent” (or arrogant) people of an obscure speech? (This is referring to the advancing army of Assyria. Their speech was obscure and their pride, while it may subdue the Northern Kingdom (Israel) will in time lead to their own destruction by a more powerful force: Babylon. But more on that later.)

Alas, but what about Jerusalem? (“Behold Zion, the city of our appointed feasts! Your eyes will see Jerusalem, an untroubled habitation, an immovable tent whose stakes will never be plucked up, nor will any of it cords be broken.” (Isaiah 33:20 ESV) Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? It gets better!)

Who will be the ruler of this city? (Here we begin to understand that the LORD and the Messiah are the same person: the King. “But there the LORD in majesty will be for us a place of broad rivers and streams, where no galley with oars can go, nor majestic ship can pass. For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver; the LORD is our king; he will save us.” (Isaiah 33:21-22 ESV) “The LORD is our king, he will save us.” That was the sentiment of Jesus’ disciples for most of his ministry even up to his final hours on earth. They were sorely disappointed mainly because they could not comprehend the scope of Jesus mission: “he will save us”.)

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