Daily Bible Readings – Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 36

Prayer Point. David contemplates the contrast between the wickedness of the human heart and the brilliance of God’s love. In what way do you identify with the description of the wicked man?  Confess those to God and receive his forgiveness. In what ways have you experienced the faithfulness of God? Praise him for those. In what ways are you being challenged or being oppressed by sinful people? Pray for the faith to trust God.

Luke 4:31-37

Background.  Jesus looked by all appearances to be an itinerant rabbi or religious teacher.  This afforded him the opportunity to preach in the synagogues that he visited and today’s reading is one such occasion.

You also notice that Jesus does not want  it to be known that he is the “Son of God.”  This is not because Jesus was avoiding the title. It was a question of timing; his time had not yet come. He will reveal himself to the world as the Son of God, but that will come at his crucifixion and resurrection.

Pay close attention to …

  • What causes the people to conclude that Jesus is something more than a rabbi.
  • How Jesus responds to the demon who declares him to be the “Holy One of God.”
  • How the local population responds to Jesus’ authority.

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 4:7-21

Background. Jesus was once asked what he thought was the greatest commandment. He replied with not one, but two commands:  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul” and “love your neighbor as yourself.”  For Jesus these two commands were one because you can’t separate love for God from love of neighbor.  You see this same theme in John’s writing.

Pay close attention to …

  • The command of verse 7.
  • The source of love in verse 7.
  • What is true of those who love (verse 7) and those who don’t love (verse 8).
  • How God demonstrated love for us (verses 8-10).  Note that an atoning sacrifice (propitiation in some translations) is a sacrifice that turns God’s righteous wrath for our sin into divine favor.
  • The appropriate response to God’s love (verse 11).
  • How the invisible God can be made visible in our world (verse 12).
  • How we know that God lives in us and we in him (verse 13).
  • What does someone who lives in God and God lives in him believe (verse 15-16) and what does he do (verses 17-21). What does this say about the connection between knowing God and loving others?
  • The connection between perfect love and the absence of fear and why (verse 18).

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 4:28-37

Background. The captives were told by the prophet Jeremiah that when they entered the land of the Chaldeans (Babylonia) that they were to establish themselves by building houses and families and then they would prosper.  This captivity was the LORD’s doing, but he also wanted his people still to be attentive to his will even though they were far removed from Jerusalem (which is where they believed that the LORD made his dwelling).  They were to live as though they were still in their own land.  They had been promised that the LORD would bring them back from exile once seventy years had passed.  In the meantime, their lives were to go on as if they were still in Judah.  As though to emphasize his point, the LORD had sent Daniel and Ezekiel as prophets to these exiles.

Daniel had found great favor in the eyes of the royal officials of Babylon (especially King Nebuchadnezzar) and was rewarded with prestige and honors.  Howbeit, Daniel had interpreted a dream for the king warning him of impending disaster to himself.  The LORD was good enough to grant Nebuchadnezzar a foreshadowing of his life unless he changed his way.  Nebuchadnezzar was perhaps the most famous king in the world at that time; he is credited with building one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: The Hanging Gardens of Babylon.  Such notoriety brings with it a great deal of pride.  Enter Daniel who said: “Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed [the captives?].  It may be that then your prosperity will continue.”  (Daniel 4:27 NIV)

Most of us don’t get such vivid warnings of the ramifications of sin in our lives — not like the one Nebuchadnezzar received.  How sad when such good advice goes unheeded.  How much waste.

Pay close attention to …

  • What Nebuchadnezzar says about himself  about a year after his disturbing dream (v. 30 )
  • The voice from heaven (v. 31 )

The verse refers to “seven times”.  Some scholars think the “times” refers to years: i.e., seven years.  Seven is a number that represents completion in the Bible.  We have seven days in a week.  Peter had asked Jesus how many times must one forgive his brother — seven times?  Jesus’ response was seventy-seven times.  (See Matt. 18:21-22) So let’s allow that Nebuchadnezzar was grazing with the cattle as long as was necessary for him to reach humility and repentance, be it seven days or seven years.

  • What Nebuchadnezzar does once is sanity is restored (v. 34 )

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)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s