Daily Bible Readings – Friday, March 1, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 69

Prayer Point. We often wonder where God is when we are up to our necks in the waters of life’s troubles. I imagine David felt this way when he prayed this psalm. But, if you read the prayer closely, you hear a second voice, Jesus calling to his Father from the cross.  If you are struggling, remember that God the Father heard this prayer and Jesus entered entered our pain and suffered in our place and rose from the dead. Pray that the Holy Spirit will remind you of these things.

John 5:30-47

Background. The Law of Moses, the law given to Israel by God, summarized by the Ten Commandments (see Exodus 20), required all legal testimony to be verified by two or three witnesses.  Jesus is claiming to be the Son of God, but the crowds are skeptical. The implied question is: where are the two witnesses to support your outlandish claims?

Pay close attention to …

  • Why Jesus doesn’t need John the Baptist (see  John 1:19-36 for John’s story) as a witness.
  • The witnesses that verify Jesus’ teaching.
  • The reason the Jews missed Jesus even though they were experts of the Bible (see verses 37-47).

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 2:25-3:8

Background. The Jews in Paul’s day believed that they were born into a special relationship with God and relied on their ethnicity and their observance of Jewish law to secure that relationship.  They divided the world into two groups: God’s people (the circumcised) and not God’s people (the uncircumcised). Circumcision was the outward sign that someone was part of God’s family, just as baptism marks a person as a member of the church of Jesus Christ. It should be noted that the inhumane practice of female circumcision was not practiced.

Paul is making the case  that no one can be right with God by keeping his law because none of us do it. Many of Paul’s opponents accused him of giving sinners a license to sin, but Paul instead will show us a new way to be right with God.

Pay close attention to …

  • Whether being circumcised and keeping God’s Law is enough to make someone right God.
  • What it takes for someone to truly be “circumcised”. Think about whether anyone could like up to this standard.
  • What according to Paul is the true circumcision, greater than outward circumcision and who performs it.
  • Circumcision’s (circumcision = being a Jew) vlalue even though  it can’t make you right with God.
  • Why the unfaithfulness of religious people (the circumcised) does not nullify God’s faithfulness.
  • If our sin highlights God’s faithfulness why God is still just in punishing our sin.

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 5:1-9

Background. Today’s reading has a familiarity about it.  It opens with a challenge by the Lord to find so much as one righteous person — or in this case, one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth…”  This reminds me of the bartering between Abraham and the Lord over the fate of Sodom.  The Lord would spare Sodom if fifty righteous people could be found.  Abraham, a staunch believer in the depravity of man, may have feared fifty a bit optimistic so he bargained with God until he whittled the number to a mere ten.  Surely there would be at least ten good people in Sodom — the odds were in Abraham’s favor.  That was a bet he, in fact, lost.  There was one righteous person and that was his own nephew Lot.  The point is that the Lord was gracious and would have accepted as few as ten.

In the present case the Lord is looking for just one person of honesty and he challenges Jeremiah to search the city and find him out if he’s there.  God knew, of course, that that would have been a waste of Jeremiah’s time because there were none.

Another familiar theme is similar to those who lived in Israel during the time of the Judges.  The prevalent aphorism: “In those days Israel had no king everyone did as he saw fit.” seems appropriate.   (Judges 21:24 NIV)  Isaiah captured the attitude this way:  “The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.” (Isaiah 29:13)  Throughout Jeremiah we will be encouraged to get a new heart with which to honor God and to circumcise the foreskin of our heart.

Pay close attention to …

  • What the Lord will do if he finds that one honest man (v. 1 )
  • The false swearing (v. 2 )
  • The hard-heartedness of the people (v. 3 )
  • Who does not know the Lord (vv. 4-5 )
  • The reason why the wild beasts will attack the people (v. 6 )
  • God’s justification for not forgiving Judah (v. 7 )

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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