Daily Bible Readings – Thursday, April 11, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 18

Prayer Point. Our God is a rock, a shield, a stronghold and our strength.  He is the God who saves us as this psalm celebrates. How has God rescued you or someone close to you? Meditate on that and offer a prayer of thanks in response.

Luke 3:1-14

Background. Jesus’ earthly ministry was preceded by the prophet John the Baptist.  Luke goes to great lengths to demonstrate that John is a successor to the Old Testament Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel to name a few). The prophets were men and women who received a specific message from God to be delivered to God’s people. There are two clues in today’s reading:

Luke goes to great lengths to root John the Baptist to a particular time and place.
The phrase, “the Word of God came to …” was used throughout the Old Testament to mark the beginning of a prophet’s ministry.

Pay close attention to …

  • Compare Luke 3:2 to Isaiah 38:4, Jeremiah 1:2, Ezekiel 1:3, Joel 1:1 and Jonah 1:1.
  • What John preaches in the country around the Jordan River and how it is connected to Isaiah’s prophecy (Luke 3:4-6)
  • The people expected the day of the Lord to be a day of liberation when God would destroy Israel’s enemies, but John warns that it will be a day of wrath. Look closely at what John commands the people to do in order to avoid God’s wrath.
  • What ‘fruit in keeping with repentance’ looks like (see verses 11-14).

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)

1 John 2:18-29

Background. John tells his readers that this is the ‘last hour’.  This refers to the period of time between the ascension of Jesus into heaven and his return.  It is the last hour in the sense that nothing else need happen before the return of Christ.

John will warn his readers against anti-Christs. An anti-Christ is one who serves the devil who seeks to undo the work of Christ and block the expansion of his kingdom around the world.

Pay close attention to …

  • The marks of an ‘anti-Christ.’  What an anti-Christ does.  What an anti-Christ denies.
  • How Christians are called to resist anti-Christs.
  • The mark of someone who is born of 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)

Daniel 2:30-49

Background. Daniel has begun to establish his credentials before the king.  He describes to the king his dream of the statue of gold, silver, bronze, iron, and feet of iron/clay (from where we get the expression “feet of clay” — j.t.).  Daniel is bold (beginning with “No”) remembering that his life was being held in the balance, but also wise for one so young (probably under thirty) for he refers to the king as king of kings.  While Nebuchadnezzar may be the head of gold, still the kingdom will not last and will then pass on to the Persians/Medes (silver) and later to the Greeks (bronze) and finally to the Romans  (legs of iron and feet of iron/clay).  Mind you these designations of kingdoms are the result of a consensus of thought regarding the interpretation.

Pay close attention to …

  • God’s plan during and after the kingdom of iron and clay (v. 44 )
  • The king’s reaction (v. 46 )

So because of this, Daniel receives great honor and a high position.  Daniel was quick to attribute his success to the God of heaven and not to himself.

  • Daniel’s friends (v. 49 )

It is easy to understand why King Nebuchadnezzar would want Daniel close to him after this.

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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