Daily Bible Readings – Monday, March 25, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 51

Prayer Point. Is there any way of approaching God after you have sinned terribly?  Psalm 51 is the prayer of a man who has committed adultery and murdered to cover it up. Read this psalm carefully and use it to confess your sins to God.

John 12:9-19

Background.  There are two important events that loom large in today’s reading.  First, Jesus has just raised Lazarus from the dead after he had been in the tomb for four days. Second, the Feast of the Passover is approaching which celebrated God’s rescue of Israel from 450 years of slavery.  The expectation was that God was going to send a new king, a Messiah, who would lead Israel again to freedom and establish God’s kingdom on earth.  If Jesus can raise the dead, he might just be the Messiah that Israel has been waiting for.

Jesus’ sudden rise in popularity is threatening to the chief priests who were given their positions by the Romans in exchange for keeping the peace.  They were afraid that the people might revolt and attempt to put Jesus on the throne.  This would bring swift and brutal force from the Roman army resulting in loss of life and the chief priests’ loss of positions.

Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a young donkey which was the royal mount in times of peace.  Had Jesus come to declare war, he would have ridden in on a horse.

Pay close attention to …

  • The depth of the chief priests’ unbelief and what they were willing to do to Lazarus.
  • What drove the crowd to follow Jesus to Jerusalem and what encouraged the people in Jerusalem to come out and greet him.
  • The song the people sing and what it says about 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)

Philippians 3:1-14

Background. Circumcision was at the center of the first controversy to rock the early church. Jewish followers of Christ who believed that Gentiles must become Jewish and follow the Law of Moses were called the “circumcision.”  Paul contended that Jesus’ death and resurrection was sufficient to make one acceptable to God and therefore Gentiles did not need to be circumcised and observe the Jewish law.

Paul in today’s reading will contrast two forms of righteousness or ways of being “right” with God.  There is a righteousness according to the flesh, which is based on a person’s performance in keeping the Law of Moses (10 Commandments) and ethnic identity (being a Jew by birth) and the righteousness that is by faith in Jesus Christ.

Pay close attention to …

  • Why Paul and the Philippians are the “true circumcision” and not those who demanded that the Gentiles be circumcised.
  • Why Paul had more reason that the “circumcision” people to boast about his Jewish background (flesh) (see verses 3-6).
  • What Paul sees as more valuable than his lifetime of achievement.
  • What knowing Christ entails (verses 10-11).
  • The focus of Paul’s life that is driven by a desire to know and love Christ (verses 12-14).

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)

Jeremiah 12:1-16

Background. Because Jeremiah is not in any particular chronological order, we find ourselves at Chapter 12.   Jeremiah has been a faithful prophet (and thus unpopular — all that business of being carried off to lands unknown — no one wants to hear that!) but the people have been inattentive.  He may be frustrated and thinking “What’s the point?” but like a true man of character he trudges on: “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”   (Psalm 84:10 NIV)  This is who Jeremiah is.

Pay close attention to…

  • What Jeremiah says: “You are always righteous, O LORD, … yet I would speak to you about your justice: (v. 1)
  • What Jeremiah’s complaint is (vv. 1-2 )
  • Jeremiah’s paraphrase of Isaiah 29:13  (v. 2)
  • What Jeremiah wants the LORD to do  (shades of Jonah)(v. 3 )
  • The people’s response (attitude) (v. 4b )
  • The LORD answer to Jeremiah (less like Jonah)(vv. 6-13 )
  • The long-term plan of the LORD regarding Judah (vv. 15-16 )

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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