Daily Bible Readings – Saturday, March 30, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 88

Prayer Point. Psalm 88 is a prayer of someone drowning in darkness and grief. Do you know someone in this place? Pray this psalm on their behalf.

John 19:38-42

Background. Two secret disciples of Jesus step out of the shadows to bury Jesus’ crucified body.  We met Nicodemus in John 3 who visited Jesus under the cloak of darkness and Joseph of Arimathea who is introduced in John 19.

It is Friday night, the beginning of  one of holiest Sabbaths on the Jewish calendar because it is also the Passover.  This special Sabbath was called the Day of Preparation. To have dead bodies hanging unburied would defile the Passover which is why Jesus is buried before sundown in a nearby tomb.

Pay close attention to …

  • The courage it must have taken Joseph and Nicodemus to claim the body of Jesus.
  • What did they risk with Pilate?
  • What did they risk from their fellow religious leaders?

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)

Hebrews 4:1-16

Background. The ancestors of the recipients of the book of Hebrews, the Israelites, made a tragic choice that cost them an opportunity to enter God’s Promised Land also referred to as God’s rest . Over a thousand years earlier, the Israelites looked out over the land that God had promised them, but they refuse to go in. Why? Because they feared the people of Canaan more than they believed in God’s power to keep his promises.

These Christians are tempted by the same fear and unbelief.  They have begun to follow Christ, but they, like their ancestors, are considering giving up the journey.  The opposition is too stiff and their faith is growing weaker by the day. The author writes to convince them not to succumb to fear and unbelief.

Pay close attention to …

  • Why the Israelites missed out on God’s rest (the Promised Land). (See Numbers 13-14 for this tragic story). What were they missing?
  • How they are to enter God’s rest and whose example they are to avoid.
  • The Sabbath rest in our future that is greater than the Promised Land that Joshua led Israel into a thousand years earlier.
  • How Jesus, their high priest, gives them the ability to persevere.

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)

Job 19:21-27

Background. This is the first time the word “redeemer” shows up in the Scripture and the last time “redeemer” is used is in Jeremiah.  So the expression “I know that my Redeemer lives…” is found only in the Old Testament.

Very briefly, the story of Job is that he is caught in the crossfire between God and Satan.  God makes a bet with Satan that Job is the most righteous man on earth.  “Sure, why not,” says Satan, “you protect him on every side, but let me have my way with him and he will curse you to your face.”  The LORD then gave Satan permission to assault Job but he could not touch his person.  Job proves God right, though he had no knowledge that this wager existed — he remains ignorant of it throughout the entire book.

Satan, tasting of sour grapes, gripes: “Skin for skin! … a man will give all he has for his own life.  But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.” (Job 2:4-5)  Job was struck with boils from head to toe and who knows what else.  He does a good deal of cursing but he never curses the LORD.

Along come three of his “friends” who do something very strange upon seeing him.  They sit with him (as though at a wake) for, get this, one week without saying a word!  One week without speaking!

Pay close attention to …

  • How Job feels about his friends’ judgment of him (v. 22 )
  • What Job wants “written in stone” (usually we think of the Ten Commandments as the origin of this expression, but here it is rendered as “engraved on a rock forever!”) (v. 24-25)
  • The first reference to resurrection in the Bible (meaning that Job is thought to have been the first book of the Bible that was written down) (v. 26 -27)

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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