Daily Bible Readings – Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 6

Prayer Point. Psalm 6 is proof that you can pray when you are suffering the consequences of your own sin. We can appeal to God’s faithfulness and unfailing love to save us from ourselves. Don’t be afraid to bring your shame and your guilt to God. Use this psalm as a guide to your prayers today.

John 12:20-26

Background. Word spreads in Jerusalem that Jesus, who raised Lazarus from the dead, is coming to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Passover. Those who hear the message rush out to meet him, hailing him as the King and Messiah sent by God to save them. Not all who  are interested in greeting Jesus are Jews.  John tells us that there are Greeks in the city who also wish to meet Jesus.  These men had come to the city to celebrate the Passover.  Most likely they would have been “God-fearers” or Gentiles who worshiped and followed the God of Israel but had not yet fully converted by undergoing circumcision.

Jesus will not directly answer their question, but instead talks about his death (lifted up = crucifixion) and its implications for those who would follow him. “Son of Man” is a title that Jesus used for himself and is a reference to Daniel 7:13-14.  The Son of Man in that prophecy ascends to heaven on the clouds and is given the authority to rule over heaven and earth for eternity.

Pay close attention to …

  • The comparison between Jesus and a kernel of wheat.  What will not happen unless he dies?
  • What is expected of those who wish to follow Jesus. How must they view life?

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 3:15-21

Background. In yesterday’s reading (Philippians 3:1-14) Paul laid out a vision for a mature life.  It is a life where one forgets personal ambition and his own righteousness and chucks it all for one purpose: to know Jesus and embrace all that he has to offer.  Paul lets go of all of his accomplishments in order to identify with the sufferings of Christ and receive the power of resurrection which is the power to change and make dead souls alive. He knows that he hasn’t obtained the goal for his life, but he presses on in the struggle to know Jesus and become like him. He lets go of his past that he might grasp the future that Christ offers.

Pay close attention to …

  • How the Philippians learned to follow Jesus as Paul did.
  • How the life pattern modeled by Paul contrasts with the “enemy of the cross” way of life.
  • A follower of Christ’s true citizenship and hope.

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 15:10-21

Background. Hezekiah was a good king who died about 80 years before Jeremiah began his ministry.  He was so good that when he was sick unto death, Isaiah (the house prophet at that time) came to Hezekiah and said: “Get your house in order for the LORD says you shall not recover.”  Having inflicted the bad news on the king Isaiah left.  Meanwhile Hezekiah is crying because he doesn’t want to die and prays to the LORD.  The LORD heard Hezekiah’s plea and before Isaiah gets to leave the king’s house the LORD sends him back with some good news: “The LORD has heard your cry and has added fifteen years to your life.”  (Taken from 2 Kings 20:1-11)  As so often happens, the very good are followed by the very worst: such was the case of Hezekiah.  He was followed by what turned out to be the very worst king in Judah’s history — Manasseh.  Manasseh undid all of the reforms and righteous acts of his father Hezekiah.  He set up idol worship in the temple and offered his children as burnt offerings to these false gods.  Can’t really get much worse than that!  This is the evil for which the LORD is punishing Judah.  Listen to this: “Even if Moses and Samuel [surely two of the most righteous people in Israel’s history — j.t.] were to stand before me, my heart would not go out to this people…because of what Manasseh son of Hezekiah king of Judah did in Jerusalem.” (Jeremiah 15:1,4 NIV)   We saw yesterday that Jeremiah was discouraged at the apparent success of the wicked — Manasseh reigned in Jerusalem for fifty-five years.  That is a long time to test the LORD’s patience.  I, too, wonder at that.  So the coming wrath is a direct result of one man: Manasseh.

Pay close attention to …

  • How Jeremiah is treated (v. 10 )
  • How the LORD comforts Jeremiah (v. 11 )
  • What Jeremiah did with the words God gave him (v. 16 )
  • Why Jeremiah was not a “party animal” (who would want him at a party anyway?)(v. 17 )
  • What the LORD tells Jeremiah again about interceding for the people (v. 19 )
  • The promise repeated from Chapter 1:8 “Do not be afraid of them, I am with you and will rescue you.”  (v. 20 )

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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