Daily Bible Readings – Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 68

Prayer Point.  God is our conquering and victorious king. That is why David invites us to praise him: “Praise be to the LORD, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death.” Is there a situation in your life where God has recently delivered you? Have you thought about how Jesus rescued us from the curse of death and offers us the hope of resurrection? Take time today to thank God our king.

Luke 8:1-15

Background. Jesus’ disciples were an unlikely lot: fishermen, a tax-collector, a terrorist (zealot) and Judas who would later betray Jesus; hardly the kind of men that rabbis selected to be their disciples. Then there were the women. Rabbis rarely taught or even socialized with women who were outside of their families and yet there are three women who traveled with Jesus. This is not the kind of soil where a rabbi would sow his teaching, but God’s definition of “good soil” is different than ours.

Pay close attention to …

  • What the seed sown by the farmer symbolizes.
  • The soil where the seed never sprouts to life and why.
  • The two soils where the seed sprouts but does not grow to maturity and what it tells us about the dangers that threaten a Christian’s soul.
  • The one soil that produces a harvest and what it tells us about being a disciple of Jesus.

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)

Romans 12:1-21

Background. After having spent the first eleven chapters of his letter to the Romans describing the grace and love of God the Father demonstrated through the life, death and resurrection of his Son Jesus, Paul now lays out the life we are to live in response.

Pay close attention to …

  • What we are to offer God in response to his mercy (verse 1).
  • What we are no longer to conform to and the new pattern of thinking that replaces it (verse 2).
  • How we are to view ourselves (verse 3).
  • How we are to see ourselves to relation to other followers of Jesus. The purpose of our gifts (talents, time and resources) (verses 4-8).
  • The objects of our love (verses 9-10).
  • How we respond to our own struggles (verse 12) and the struggles of others (verse 13).
  • What loving our neighbor looks likes (verses 14-21).

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)

Leviticus 16:20-34

What is the first thing that Aaron (the high priest) supposed to do to the goat?  Why?  (“He is to lay both his hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites – all their sins – and put them on the goat’s head.” (Leviticus 16:20b-21 NIV)  We have seen the practice of imposing hands on the head as far back as Jacob when he blessed Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh.  It was customary also in the early church to commission people by means of the laying on of hands. At one point in most ordinations (of ministers and priests and bishops) there is the laying on of hands as a sign of authority being conferred.)

What happens to the goat next?  ([The high priest] “shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task.  The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place; and the man shall release it in the desert.” (Leviticus 16:21b-22 NIV)  All of this activity takes place outside the camp.  This is significant, especially when applied to Jesus, who as the world’s sacrificial, lamb was taken outside the camp (in this case Jerusalem) and sacrificed.) )

This is the most sacred aspect of the “Day of Atonement”.  The high priest [in this case Aaron] will then will remove his sacred garments and then bathe, redress in his regular garb and sacrifice the burnt offering for the people and to make atonement for himself and the people.  What becomes of the live goat and the man caring for it?  (The goat is released in the desert there to bear the sins of the people in the wilderness.  The guardian of the goat will then wash his clothes and bathe himself and then return to the camp.  Chapter 4 of Leviticus discusses the sin offering to be made for the people in greater detail.)

Yesterday we saw that the high priest had a bull and two goats.  What was the fate of the ram and the other goat?  (The bull and the goat were sacrificed and the excess were brought outside the camp.  “The bull and the goat for the sin offerings, whose blood was brought into the Most Holy Place to make atonement, must be taken outside the camp; their hides, flesh and offal are to be burned up.  The man who burns them must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may come into the camp.” (Leviticus 16:27-28))

When is all this gory activity to take place?  (“On the tenth day of the seventh month [that would correspond in our calendar to September-October] you must deny yourselves and not do any work – whether native-born or an alien living among you – because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you.  Then, before the LORD, you will be clean from all your sins.  It is a sabbath of rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance.” (Leviticus 16:29-31 NIV))

Who is the one who presides over this ceremony?  (“The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement.” (Leviticus 16:32 NIV))

Wisdom 10:1-4, 13-21  (Not Scripture, but still worthwhile reading for the Christian)

Chapter 10
Verses 1-4, 13-21

1    Wisdom protected the first-formed father of
the world, when he alone had been created;
she delivered him from his transgression,
2    and gave him strength to rule all things.
3    But when an unrighteous man departed from her in his anger,
he perished because in rage he killed his brother.
4    When the earth was flooded because of him, wisdom again saved it,
steering the righteous man by a paltry piece of wood.

—————————————————————————————————————–

13    When a righteous man was sold, wisdom did not desert him,
but delivered him from sin.
She descended with him into the dungeon,
14    and when he was in prison she did not leave him,
until she brought him the scepter of a kingdom
and authority over is masters.
Those who accused him she showed to be false,
and she gave him everlasting honor.

15    A holy people and blameless race
wisdom delivered from a nation of oppressors.
16    She entered the soul of a servant of the LORD,
and withstood dread kings with wonders and signs.
17    She gave to holy people the reward of their labors;
she guided them along a marvelous way,
and became a shelter to them by day,
and a starry flame through the night.
18    She brought them over the Red Sea,
and led them though deep waters;
19    but she drowned their enemies,
and cast them up from the depth of the sea.
20    Therefore the righteous plundered the ungodly;
they sing hymns, O LORD, to your holy name,
and praised with one accord your defending hand;
21    for wisdom opened the mouths of those who were mute,
and made the tongues of infants speak clearly.

Pay close attention to …

  • What is being recounted in this passage
  • Who is the “unrighteous man” in verse 3
  • Who is the righteous man in verse 13
  • The reward for the righteous man in verse 13 (v. 14 )
  • The servant of the Lord spoken of in verse 16
  • Who gets the credit for all the wonders performed in the sight of the people

This personification of wisdom described here we believe to be the working of the Holy Spirit among his people as they sojourned throughout the wilderness and into to the Promised Land.

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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