Daily Bible Readings – Sunday, February 3, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 34

Prayer Point. David is remembering when God miraculously saved him and allowing that memory to move to worship. Take time today to think about a time when God intervened in your life and offer God your own prayer of praise.

John 7:37-46

Background. The events in today’s reading take place on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles (tents). This feast commemorated Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness where God provided them with manna (bread from heaven) when they were hungry, and water from the rock when they were dying of thirst.

Jesus uses language in which the people would understand knowing that this was the day that the priest brought forth, in golden vessels, water from the pool of Siloam and poured it over the altar, probably in response to Isaiah 12:3, which states, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” This was a time of great joy remembering the God who had fed them and had given them water in the desert.

The crowds begin to argue about Jesus’ identity. Some believe he is the prophet that Moses had foretold (Deuteronomy 18:15), others believe he is the Christ (Messiah, the anointed king who would establish God’s kingdom on earth), but there are some who are skeptical. They apparently were unfamiliar with Jesus’ story believing he had been born in Galilee and not in Bethlehem as Matthew, Mark and Luke tell us.

Pay close attention to …

  • The identity of the streams of living water.
  • Who will receive this Spirit.
  • Why the temple guards are unable to seize Jesus.

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 12:1-6

Background. The book of Hebrews was written to a Jewish group of followers of Jesus who were undergoing a difficult time of persecution. It was severe enough for them to consider abandoning their faith in Jesus and returning to the safety of the Judaism they had been born into. This book was written to encourage them to cling to Jesus and to persevere in their new faith.

In chapter 11, the writer provided several examples of persevering faith from their Jewish history and now in chapter 12 the writer starts to point us to Jesus.

Pay close attention to …

  • How Jesus can inspire us to persevere when we are persecuted.
  • How Christians should interpret suffering, especially what it tells us about our relationship with God.

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 51:1-8

Background. The sad truth is that we all need constant encouragement/incentive to follow Christ. It was no different in Isaiah’s time. His people also needed incentive to persevere and in the first eight verses of this chapter there are three such incentives.

The first incentive takes the form of remembrance: in this case remembering Abraham and Sarah. Remember that Abraham “believed God” even when God told him that Sarah would, at age ninety, give birth to the long-awaited son God had promised Abraham. The point is that Abraham believed God. God came through and Israel became a great nation also as promised.

The second incentive regards God’s truth which will be extended throughout the nations (and islands) and thus offering salvation to Jew and Gentile alike.

The third incentive is for “you people who have my law in your hearts … But my righteousness will last forever and my salvation through all generations.” (v. 8)

Pay close attention to …

  • Abraham and Sarah as examples of people of faith (v. 2)
  • The restoration described (v. 3)
  • The by-product of this faith (v. 3)
  • What the law becomes to the nations (v. 4)
  • What the islands wait and hope for (v. 5)
  • The temporality of the earth and heavens and the permanence of God’s righteousness and salvation (v. 6)
  • Why the people have no need to fear the reproach or be terrified by the insults of men (v. 7)
  • The fate of those who strive against God’s people (v. 8)
  • How long salvation and righteousness will last (v. 8)

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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