Daily Bible Readings – Saturday, March 16, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 108

Prayer Point. What better way than to begin the day with worship and leaving your burdens at the feet of God the Father. Let Psalm 108 guide your prayers this morning.

John 6:60-71

Background. Jesus’ willingness to offend people is quite striking in the gospel of John.  He is at the height of his popularity at the beginning of this chapter. Having fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish, the crowds are ready to make him king. Then Jesus offers them a greater bread …

“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:54

The crowds are revolted by the idea of eating his flesh and blood. Can Jesus be trusted be trusted even when his teachings are difficult to accept? To answer that question Jesus will draw on another prophetic image: Daniel 7:14-15.  In Daniel’s vision we see “one like a son of man” ascending to God the Father on the “clouds of heaven.” The Son of Man is seated on the throne and is given authority to rule over God’s creation.

Pay close attention to …

  • How Jesus’ own disciples react to his teaching.
  • How Jesus reacts to his disciples doubts.
  • How he explains why some will not come to him.
  • Why Peter chooses not to abandon 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 9:1-18

Background.  While Paul enjoyed great success in preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, his own countrymen, the Jews, largely rejected him. The question is:  if Israel is God’s people, why have so many turned away from Christ?  He will appeal to Israel’s history to explain why this is the case.

Abraham, the father of the nation of Israel had two sons: Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael was born the ordinary way.  When Sarah, Abraham’s wife saw that she was beyond childbearing age, she gave her husband her servant Hagar to produce an heir.  Hagar bore Abraham Ishmael, but he was not the child chosen by God. The child of the promise was Isaac who was later miraculously conceived by Abraham and Sarah. It was Isaac and his descendents who were considered the children of the promise.

The same is true of the next generation.  Isaac had two sons, Jacob and Esau.  Esau was the elder but God chose Jacob to be the heir and the child of the promise. Not all  Israel is Israel.  In other words, it takes more than genetics to be a member of God’s people.

The Pharaoh of verse 17 refers to the Egyptian king who refused to release the Israelites from slavery. The book of Exodus tells us that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (after Pharaoh first hardened his) so that he could bring the plagues upon Egypt and demonstrate his power over Egypt and its gods.

Pay close attention to …

  • How Paul feels about the Jews who rejected Christ and what he is willing to do for them.
  • What it takes to be a true member of Israel and child of Abraham.
  • What determines whether someone is a child of the promise.
  • How God used Pharaoh for his purposes even though he didn’t obey God.

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 23:9-15

Background. “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken.  That prophet has spoken presumptuously.  Do not be afraid of him.”  (Deuteronomy 18:22 NIV)  The penalty for prophesying falsely is death.

During the time of the kings of Israel and Judah, prophets were on the payroll.  These people were considered advisors and may have had some prophetic gift.  I suspect that most of these people were sycophants (what we call “yes-men”).  Every king wants someone to tell him what he wants to hear. Things have not changed all that much even today.  The problem of being a yes-man is that he may be wrong.

Pay close attention to …

  • Jeremiah’s anguish (v. 9 )
  • How the “prophets” are described (vv. 10-11 )
  • The “repulsive thing” seen in Samaria (v. 13 )
  • How the prophets are seen in Jerusalem (v. 14 )

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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