Daily Bible Readings – Sunday, January 27, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 8

Prayer Point. If you need to have a bigger view of God and a smaller view of yourself then get outside at night and look up at the stars as David, the composer of Psalm 8 did. How is it that the God who made the stars even notices us?  How is it that our insignificant planet played host to Jesus, the Son of Man and the Son of God? Let the wonder of that sink and let it move you to worship God in prayer.

John 7:14-31

Background. A self-taught rabbi was as absurd as a self-instructed doctor would be today. It just wasn’t done and yet Jesus, who had no rabbi, speaks with a wisdom unlike anyone who had come before him and the people don’t know what to do with him.

Pay close attention to …

  • Whom Jesus claims as his “rabbi,” the source of his teaching (see verse 16).
  • What it takes to learn the source of Jesus’ teaching (verse 17)
  • Whose honor a true teacher pursues (verse 18).
  • The great sin that Jesus points out in the people.
  • The connection between knowing Jesus and the “One who sent him,” God the Father.

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)

Hebrews 11:8-16

Background. Hebrews was written to encourage a group of Christians of Jewish ancestry who were considering giving up following Jesus. They were experiencing persecution, suffering that would cease if they returned to returned to Judaism. The writer inspires them to hang on by pointing to heroes of the faith that have gone before them, mentioning the “faith heroes” of Israel’s past such as Abraham, Jacob and Joseph.

The writer of Hebrews in today’s reading begins to walk through Israel’s history and pick out inspiring figures who trusted God and put their faith in his promises even if they didn’t see these promises fulfilled within their life time. These were all examples of faith because they believed in something they couldn’t see and yet were certain that these things would come to pass (see Hebrews 11:1)

Pay close attention to …

  • How Abraham’s life is a demonstration of faith. What he does despite not receiving the promised land in his lifetime. What he believes despite the fact that he and his wife Sarah are beyond childbearing age.
  • What Abraham has in common with other heroes of the faith (see verses 13-16).

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 47:1-15

Background. At this point in time judgment is about to fall on the Northern Kingdom (Israel) by the hand of the Assyrians. The Babylonians would not have been thought of as any kind of threat to Judah because the Babylonians and the Assyrians were at odds with each other and not with Judah. The Lord has tried to make it clear to his people (in this case the people of Judah) that judgment will be visited upon them as well for exactly the same sins as their sister Israel. Judah is safe for the time being for their judgment won’t come for about 130 years. Hezekiah, king of Judah, during much of Isaiah’s time, had his own dealings with the Assyrians. The Assyrians had surrounded Jerusalem threatening to tear it down. Isaiah had prophesied to the king that the Assyrians would be overthrown — which they were in a spectacular fashion. Read all about it in 2 Kings Chapters 19-21. Also in that passage we read that Hezekiah had entertained some envoys from “the north” (Babylonia) to whom he displayed all his treasure and arsenal. Here Isaiah rebukes the king telling him that in less than two generations the Babylonians would return to carry it all away. Hezekiah’s thinking was rather cavalier: “What do I care I’ll be dead by then.” Actually Hezekiah was one of the good kings in Judah.

Pay close attention to …

  • How Babylonia is presented (v. 1)
  • Who will “take vengeance” (vv. 3-4)
  • How the Babylonians had treated God’s people (v. 6)
  • Babylonia’s vanity (vv. 7-8)
  • What will overtake the Babylonians (v. 9)
  • What the Babylonians trust (v. 10)
  • Yet another sin Babylon is guilty of (v. 9, 11, 12) 
  • What the stargazers and astrologers are to do (v. 13)
  • Who is left to save (v. 15)

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)

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