Daily Bible Readings – Monday, March 11, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 89

Prayer Point. God’s story with Israel is a tale of God’s faithfulness despite our faithlessness. God saves his people. God’s people forgets their Savior. God sends judgment. God’s people cry out and God sends a Savior. This is Israel’s story and it is ours. How has God been faithful to you? Offer God praise. How have you been unfaithful? Confess those sins to God. How do need God today? Ask him to save you, again.

John 6:1-15

Background. A thousand years before Jesus’ coming, Moses spoke this prophecy:

Deuteronomy 18:15 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.

In other words, Israel’s Messiah, the king God was sending to rescue his people, would look, sound and act like Moses. Moses was the man chosen by God to lead Israel out of slavery in Egypt and bring them to the Promised Land. The expectation was that God would send a “second Moses”, this time leading Israel out of bondage to their Roman oppressors and establish God’s kingdom on earth.

The miracle Jesus performs in today’s reading is done, primarily, to demonstrate the he is indeed the prophet Moses spoke of.  Just as Moses prayed and God fed the people with manna from heaven, so also will Jesus feed a crowd of hungry people.

Pay close attention to …
How Jesus tests his disciples as the crowds approached and how well they did with the exam.
The manner in which Jesus fed the five thousand people and what this says about his ability to provide.
What the crowds call Jesus in response to the miracle and Jesus’ response and why.

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 7:1-12

Background. Jesus’ death and resurrection secured for us God’s forgiveness. He paid the penalty for our sins. That is wonderful news, but the significance of what Jesus did is far greater. It is also the power to die to our old life of sin, so that we live a new one. Or, as Paul put it, Christ’s death ends our  marriage to the law of sin, so that we might belong to him.

The Law that Paul refers to is the Law God gave to Israel through Moses. Those laws are summarized by the Ten Commandments and further condensed by Jesus to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbor as yourself.”

For Paul sin was not a mistake or an indiscretion, it was more like a disease or a condition. Richard Lovelace put it this way:

[sin is] an organic network of compulsive attitudes, beliefs and behavior deeply rooted in our alienation from God … [it is] the fallen human personality apart from the renewing influence and control of the Holy Spirit. (Richard Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Life, 88-89)

We are sinners not because we screw up once in a while; we lose our temper, we lust, we get impatient. Those are symptoms of a deeper problem. We are sinners because our body is diseased with fears that control us because we are separated from God. It takes little to cause the condition to surface. We are “ok” until we are rushed, embarrassed, criticized, disappointed, lonely or other ways that exacerbate or fears and insecurities.

Pay close attention to …

  • Paul’s comparison of the law to a marriage.
  • What must happen before someone is released from this “marriage.”
  • How someone dies to the law.
  • How the law interacts with our sinful nature.  Does it make us “better” or “worse”?
  • The law’s true purpose.  (By the way, the death Paul is talking about here is the death of our dreams of being right with God through our own efforts.)

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 16:10-21

Background. In the early part of this chapter the LORD tells Jeremiah not to marry and to have children.  His reasons were as I had suspected just a couple of weeks ago: “They will die of deadly diseases.  They will not be mourned or buried but will be like refuse lying on the ground.” (Jeremiah 16:4 NIV)  This was, among other things, to spare Jeremiah the grief of the impending disaster.  It is clear that the LORD is withdrawing his favor toward the Jews: “For this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Before your eyes and in your days I will bring an end to the sounds of joy and gladness and to the voices of bride and bridegroom in this place.’ “(Jeremiah 16:10 NIV)

After all that Jeremiah (and all the other prophets) had proclaimed the people are mystified that the LORD would treat them in such a way: “When you tell these people all this and they ask you, ‘Why has the LORD decreed such a great disaster against us?  What sin have we committed against the LORD our God?’ ” It seems clear that no one has been listening to any of the prophets: they can’t see their sin.

Pay close attention to …

  • How these people “have behaved more wickedly than” their fathers (v. 12 )
  • The coming punishment from the LORD (v. 13 )
  • The promise to Judah (vv. 14-15 )
  • The price of defiling the land (vv. 17-18 )

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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