Daily Bible Readings – Monday, February 4, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 77

Prayer Point. Asaph, the author of Psalm 77, is thinking back on how he prayed during a dark period of his life. He cried out to God and refused to be comforted. He also reminds God of the great things he has done in the past and asks him to do it again.  Try following this prayer pattern today, either for yourself or someone you know who is going through a difficult time.

Mark 9:30-41

Background. Jesus ministered to the crowds, but he concentrated his efforts on teaching his small community of disciples. He was not interested in gathering a large group, but starting a movement of committed disciples who were able to make new disciples and fill the world with his followers. We see this priority in today’s reading as Jesus gets away from the crowds in order to instruct his disciples privately. You’ll also notice that the disciples have a lot to learn before they are ready.

For example, the statement, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days will rise,” appears to us to be a straightforward prediction of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. The disciples don’t get it because their expectation of the Messiah (Son of Man) was of a conquering king, not someone who was going to die.

Pay close attention to …

  • The disciples’ argument on the road and how it further demonstrates their misunderstanding of Jesus.
  • The disciples’ attitude towards other followers of Jesus who were not “one of them” and Jesus’ response.

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)

Galatians 6:11-18

Background. Paul most likely dictated this letter to an associate, but here as the letter comes to a close, he seizes the pen. He writes in large letters to emphasize his closing argument. Throughout the letter Paul has urged the Galatian Christians to resist the pressure from false teachers to submit to circumcision and to follow Jewish laws and customs in order to be “real” followers of Jesus.

Pay close attention to …

  • What the false teachers were hoping to avoid by forcing the Galatians to become circumcised and follow Jewish Law.
  • What Paul boasts in as opposed to the false teachers. 
  • The only thing that counts in the end (verse 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)

Isaiah 51:17-23

Background. Yesterday (Sunday Isaiah 51:9-16) it was the people wanting the Lord to “awake”. Today it is the Lord who is urging his people to wake up. One of the responsibilities of the prophet is to warn God’s people of God’s purpose for them. In this case the news is not good; God wants his people to face the consequences of their breaking of the covenant: idol worship. Let’s be clear: idol worship is people depending on anybody or anything other than God. The Northern Kingdom is now (722 B.C.) being carried off by the Assyrians and Isaiah is warning that the same will also happen to Judah unless there is heartfelt repentance. That fact is that the people are apostate, which only means they have completely turned their faith away from God. There may be a remnant but their voice is so small so as not to be heard. This section of Isaiah 51 begins with the same words “Awake” which were used by the people toward God in verse 9 but this time the command is being issued by God to his people.

Pay close attention to:

  • What the wrath is likened to (v. 17 )
  • Who is left to guide her (Jerusalem) (v. 18 )
  • What the “double calamities” are (v. 19 )
  • What the people are filled with (v. 20 )
  • What the Lord has done (v. 22 )
  • What the Lord will do (v. 23 )

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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