Daily Bible Readings – Thursday, February 28, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 70

Prayer Point. Are you or someone you know in a place where the only prayer that comes to mind is “help”? Psalm 70 is one of those “help” prayers. Offer Psalm 70 on behalf of yourself or someone you know that is in this desperate place.

John 5:19-29

Background. Jesus has just deliberately offended the crowd by violating their interpretation of the Sabbath Law. The Sabbath Law, which is the fourth commandment (Exodus 20:8-10), directed the Israelites to work six days a week, but commanded them to rest on the seventh day; Saturday. Jesus healed a crippled man on the Sabbath (see yesterday’s reading – John 5:1-18) and commanded the man to carry his mat and walk.  Both activities, the healing and carrying your mat, were ironically considered to be work and therefore unlawful  on the Sabbath.

The Jews want to kill Jesus because he had the temerity to challenge their understanding of the Law of Moses. Who does he think he is anyway? God?

Pay close attention to …

  • The relationship between the Father and the Son (Jesus). Who takes the lead and who follows. What the Father has entrusted to his Son and for what purpose. Who is dishonored if the Son is dishonored.
  • What is true of those who believe the words of the Son.
  • Where Jesus gets the authority to give eternal life to those who believe in him.
  • The event that will vindicate Jesus’ claims (see verses 28-29).

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)

Romans 2:12-24

Background. Paul has pointed out that both Jews and Gentiles, religious and non-religious people, are deserving of God’s judgment. Those two groups are described in this passage as those “under the law” (Jews) and those “apart from the law” (Gentiles).

Pay close attention to …

  • The fate of both Jews (religious) and Gentiles (irreligious) sinners (verse 12).
  • What it takes to be righteous (think: right with God) in God’s sight (verses 13-16).
  • How well Jews (religious people like us) do in keeping God’s law (verses 17-24) and what this says about humanity’s need for God’s forgiveness.

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)

Jeremiah 4:9-10, 19-28

Background. The constant theme regarding Judah’s relationship with the Lord is to “return”.  So the relationship cannot have been that good.  The Lord sends his prophets one after another and sometimes two or three at a time all with the same message: return to the Lord.  These people are not listening and now the Lord is telling them that the invaders out of the north will come and sweep through Jerusalem.  Imagine, if you can, the most sacred place on earth: the temple where sits the ark of the covenant.  As stated earlier, the ark was a visible representation of the presence of God.  Clearly that was not enough because the unrepentant sin in all of Israel’s history was that of idolatry.  Page after page of scripture recounts how the people go “a whoring” after other gods which are not gods.  The people hungered for “something more”; something like the “nations” have.  They wanted their little idols and the shrines so that they could bring their offerings (whatever they may be) in an effort either to gain favor or to ask favor of the idol.  In both cases it is manipulation and the God of Israel will not be manipulated.

The sense of urgency (in verse 5) may have been premature: the capture of Jerusalem will not occur for another twenty-three years (if Josiah is king at this point).  The message here is for the people to get ready for this eventuality.

Pay close attention to …

  • “In that day…” (v. 9 )
  • How audacious Jeremiah is with the Lord (I am certain that no one talks to God like this.) (v. 10 )
  • How personally Jeremiah feels the message he is assigned to deliver (vv. 19-21 )
  • Verse 22 because the speaker is the Lord .

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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