Daily Bible Readings – Thursday, April 25, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 114

Prayer Point. We are called to both fear and love God as Israel did. Psalm 114 explains why. It is the power of God that causes the earth to tremble, but it is that same power that breaks the power of oppression and sets us free. Pray that God will fill you with a reverent fear of his power, but also gratitude that this same power rescued us from slavery to sin and death.

Luke 6:39-49

Background.  Today’s reading is the final section of  Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6:20-49).  This sermon represents the core of Jesus’ teaching in the Gospel of Luke and provides us with a blue print of what life looks like in his kingdom. It is an outline of what it means to follow him.

Pay close attention to …

  • The goal of every Christian according to verse 40.  Consider that Jesus is the teacher and we are his students.
  • How someone prepares to confront a fellow Christian (brother or sister) that has fallen into sin.
  • The analogy between a tree and its fruits and the condition of our hearts and our actions.  What does this tell us about our sin problem?
  • The secret of building a life on a solid foundation.

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)

Colossians 2:8-23

Background. Paul’s letter to the Colossian Christians was written in the midst of the first controversy that gripped the early church. The question was: “Do you need to convert to Judaism and become a practicing Jew in order to be a true follower of Jesus?” Those who insisted that Gentiles follow Jewish practices were called ‘Judaizers’. This question had profound implications for the many Gentiles members of the Colossian church. Would they need to be circumcised (a ritual that every Jewish male went through to demonstrate that he had entered God’s family)? Would they need to follow Jewish cultural practices: dietary laws, Sabbaths and festivals (see verse 16)?

Pay close attention to …

  • Where Paul comes down on whether the Gentiles need to follow Jewish laws and customs to be followers of Jesus.
  • Who lives in Jesus (verse 9) and what God has done for the Colossians (and for us) through Christ (10-12)
  • The contrast between circumcision done by men and the circumcision done by Christ and why Jesus’ circumcision renders the old circumcision unnecessary.
  • The connection between the circumcision done by Christ and baptism (verses 12).
  • What Jesus did for the Colossians (verse 13-15) and why they should not see themselves as “second class” Christians (verse 16).
  • The purpose of the old Jewish practices and their relationship to Christ (verse 17)
  • What have the Judaizers lost according to Paul? (verse 19)
  • What are rules and regulations unable to do for us? (verse 23)

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)

Exodus 34:1-17

Why do you think only Moses was allowed to go up to Sinai to remake the stone tablets?  How can we explain that God is both ‘a compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love’ God  AND a God who does not leave the guilty unpunished?  How have you seen these two characteristics play themselves out in chapters 32 and 33?  How do you see these two characteristics of God on display at the crucifixion of Jesus?

Idolatry is overriding theme of this week’s readings.  An idol is anything we depend on, other than God, for our security, happiness, identity and fulfillment.  What kinds of idols do you struggle with?

The moment of truth comes in verse 10, when despite Israel’s sin and idolatry, God decides to remake the covenant with them.  Think of the covenant as a peace treaty with conditions laid out for both parties.  What are Israel’s terms for this peace treaty in verses 10-17?  What must they do?

Wisdom 5:9-23 (Not Scripture, but still worthwhile reading for the Christian)

Background. This reading will echo Solomon’s Ecclesiastes “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity…”

Wisdom of Solomon 5:9-23
Chapter 5
Verses 9-23

9         “All those things have vanished like a shadow,
and like a rumor that passes by;
10        like a ship that sails through the billowy water,
and when it has passed no trace can be found,
no track of its keel in the waves;
11        or as, when a bird flies through the air,
no evidence of its passage is found;
the light air, lashed by the beat of its pinions
and pierced by the force of its rushing flight,
is traversed by the movement of its wings,
and afterward no sign of its coming is found
there;
12        or as, when an arrow is shot at a target,
the air, thus divided comes together at once,
so that no one knows its pathway.
13        So we also, as soon as we were born, ceased to be,
and we had no sign of virtue to show,
but were consumed in our wickedness.”
14        Because the hope of the ungodly is like
thistledown [dust] carried by the wind,
and like a light frost driven away by a storm;
it is dispersed like smoke before the wind,
and it passes like the remembrance of a guest who
stays but a day.

15          But the righteous live forever,
and their reward is with the LORD;
the Most High takes care of them.
16        Therefore they will receive a glorious crown
and a beautiful diadem from the hand of
the LORD,
because with his right hand he will cover them,
and with his arm he will shield them,
17        The LORD will take his zeal as his whole armor.
and will arm all creation to repel his enemies;
18        he will put on righteousness as a breastplate,
and wear impartial justice as a helmet;
19        he will take holiness as an invincible shield,
20        and sharpen stern wrath for a sword,
and creation will join with him to fight against his
frenzied foes.
21        Shafts of lightning will fly with true aim,
and will leap from the clouds to the target, as from
a well-drawn bow,
22        and hailstones full of wrath will be hurtled as from
a catapult;
the water of the sea will rage against them,
the rivers will relentlessly overwhelm them;
23    a mighty wind will rise against them,
and like a tempest it will winnow them away.
Lawlessness will lay waste the whole earth,
and evildoing will overturn the thrones of rulers.

Pay close attention to …

  • The fleetingness of life (vv. 9-12 )
  • The hope of the ungodly (v.14 )
  • The righteous (v. 15-16 )
  • The “breastplate of righteousness” — see Isaiah 59:17 and Ephesians 6:14 (v. 18 )
  • His shield (v. 19 )
  • Nature in the fight (vv. 21-23 )

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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