Daily Bible Readings – Saturday, March 2, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 75

Prayer Point. When we look at the chaos of the world it is easy to conclude that God is either weak or uncaring. Psalm 75 invites us to think again. It is God who “holds the pillars of the earth firm” and “brings one [leader] down and exalts another.” Pray for the faith to believe this so that we can live patiently waiting for God’s justice and not live in fear and anger.

John 7:1-13

Background. Jesus taught that a prophet has no honor in his own country (John 4:44). Apparently that is also true of a prophet’s family: Jesus’ own brothers doubt him. It may surprise some to learn that Jesus had brothers, especially since his mother Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus. While Mary was certainly a virgin before his birth, the scriptures do not say that she remained a virgin afterward. Remember that she was married to Joseph and it is likely that they had other children who would effectively be half-brothers of Jesus.

The skeptical brothers wonder why Jesus labors in obscurity when those who are trying to change the world normally place themselves in the center of the action. Why not go to Jerusalem? John tells us in verse 1 that the Jews were looking to take his life.  Jesus is not staying away out of fear, but because he will lay down his life at the time chosen by his Father.

The Feast of Tabernacles would have provided Jesus a great opportunity to take his campaign public because it was one of three festivals that Jews were required to celebrate in Jerusalem each year.  Everyone would be there.

Pay close attention to …

  • The skepticism of Jesus’ own brothers.  Imagine what that would have been like for Jesus.
  • Why Jesus refuses to go to Jerusalem with his brothers.
  • Why the world hates Jesus.
  • Jesus goes to Jerusalem in secret.  What are the crowds saying about him?
  • Why no one publicly acknowledges 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)

Romans 3:9-20

Background. Paul is making the case  that no one can be right with God by keeping his law because none of us do it. Gentiles, pagans, the non-religious are all clearly sinners, but so are Jews, Christians and moral religious people.

Pay close attention to …

  • What is true of both Jews and Gentiles.
  • How many are considered righteousness (right with God).
  • What the law cannot do for us.
  • What the law does do for us.

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 5:20-31

Background. It appears that Jeremiah (and any other prophets at that time) have an uphill battle before them.  Things begin to look hopeless.  The fact that the Lord continues to speak to the people means that things are not hopeless at all.  The question to ask is: what will it take for the people to understand that the prophets are speaking for the Lord and that he means business.  While their king (Josiah) is righteous and is implementing serious religious reform, still, it is the heart of the people that needs to be won.  Josiah went on a crusade to remove all of the “high places” throughout Judah and he even cleansed the land formerly occupied by the Northern Kingdom (which had not one, but two golden claves to worship).  Josiah is nearing the end of his reign and when he dies so will go the last best hope for Judah.

Pay close attention to …

  • The work of the Lord and remember that people feared the sea as the harbinger of evil (v. 22 )
  • What the people take for granted (v. 24 )
  • The consequences of wrongdoings and sins (v. 25 )
  • The description of the wicked and what they fail to do (vv. 26-28 )
  • What the Lord should do with such people (v. 29 )

A note about the sea.  The sea was untamed and fearful.  On a couple of occasions Jesus actually calmed the rough waters which were instilling fear in his own disciples.  When Jonah was aboard the vessel headed for “Tarshish” the ship entered a tempest.  The heathens on board each prayed to his own god and then they wondered who was responsible for the evil from which they were suffering.  In Revelation we see that the “beast” rises out of the sea.  So the thinking was: the sea baaad; the land gooood!

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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