Daily Bible Readings – Friday, May 3, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 106

Prayer Point.  I can’t read this psalm without hearing of the voice of the crucified thief pleading with Jesus, “remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He was a sinner who hoped that somehow Jesus might open the doors of paradise for him. We are in the same position. Psalm 106 is a psalm of repentance. It speaks of Israel’s sins, but what are yours? Confess them to God and ask him for his forgiveness and the hope of eternal life.

Luke 8:40-56

Background.  While Jesus was on the other side of the sea of Galilee healing a demon-possessed Gentile man (see Luke 8:26-39), the twelve year old daughter of a synagogue ruler (sort of like a pastor) falls ill and is close to death. Jairus, the girl’s father, begs Jesus to hurry, but Jesus does not seem to be in a rush.

On the way to the house, Jesus will encounter a women who had been bleeding for 12 twelve years.  This was far more than a medical problem.  She was considered unclean while she bled and everyone and everything she touched became unclean as well and was forced to undergo an elaborate cleansing ritual.  For all that time this woman was deprived of human touch and  closeness.

Pay close attention to …

  • Who is important enough for Jesus to delay his visit to Jairus’ house.
  • How the bleeding woman reacts to being discovered by Jesus and why.
  • What happens to the woman once she touches Jesus and why.  In Jewish law, when a clean person comes in contact with the unclean, the clean becomes unclean. With Jesus, the unclean becomes _____________________.

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 14:13-23

Background. The Jewish dietary laws that governed which foods were clean (fit for eating) and unclean (unfit for eating) were overturned by God after the death and resurrection of Jesus (see Acts 9:9-15).  These laws were no longer necessary, but old habits die hard and many Jewish followers of Jesus continued to follow the old dietary laws.  This threatened to split the church between those who ate everything and those who continued to follow the old traditions.

Paul believes that Christians are free to eat what the Law of Moses had previously considered to be unclean foods. But there is something greater than being right.  It’s the call to love those whose faith may not be as strong as our own.

Pay close attention to …

  • What is more important to Paul than his freedom to eat whatever he wanted. For what reason should we sometimes put aside our freedom.

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 23:1-22

What is special about the sabbath?  (“There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day of sacred assembly.  You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the LORD.” (Leviticus 23:3 NIV))

This is clearly outlined in the fourth commandment “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.”  What does the Sabbath represent?  (The Sabbath reminds us that the LORD made all of creation in six days and rested on the seventh day.  If it is good enough for God it shall be good enough for all of us.  The Sabbath will be restored, along with everything else, once Jesus returns.)

When is the Passover to begin?  (The Passover is to be observed on the evening of the 14th day of the first month (March – April) and is to last for seven days.)

The principal feature about the Passover is the absence of ________________________.  (Yeast or leaven)
How are the beginning and the ending of the Passover celebrated?  (There is to be a sacred assembly and no one is to do any regular work.  These, then, become Sabbaths to the LORD.)

What is the next feast described? (The next feast is the Feast of the Firstfruits.)

What would be the purpose of the Feast of the Firstfruits?  (The Feast of the Firstfruits was to give thanks to the LORD for the coming harvest.  Typically the barley would be the first crop which would be followed by the wheat harvest.  So the Feast of the Firstfruits would be both a thanksgiving for the LORD’s bounty as well as the promise of more bounty to come.)

The offering to the LORD was to be a sheaf of the first grain; a sacrifice of a lamb a year old (without defect, of course); a grain offering of  two tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil which is offered by fire, and a quarter of a hin of wine.  [An ephah was about 3/5 of a bushel – whatever 1/5 of that was = the offering;  a hin equals about 4 quarts (a gallon) and in this case a quart of wine.)  What was prohibited until the very day this offering was made?  (One must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain.)

Roughly how much time elapses between Passover and the “Feast of Weeks”?  (There are approximately 50 days between Passover and the Feast of Weeks.)

What is the rendering of this feast in the New Testament?  (The New Testament uses the Greek terminology for this time-frame: Pentecost, i.e., fifty days)

What is the reminder regarding the reaping of the harvest in verse 22?  (The reminder is not to glean the excess of the harvest, but rather, to leave it for the poor and the alien.)

Wisdom 16:15 – 17:1 (Not Scripture but still worthwhile reading)

15    To escape from your hand is impossible;
16    for the ungodly, refusing to know you,
were flogged by the strength of your arm,
pursued by unusual rains and hail
and relentless storms,
and utterly consumed by fire.
17    For — most incredible of all — in water, which
quenches all things,
the fire had still greater effect,
for the universe defends the righteous.
18    At one time the flame was restrained,
so that it might not consume the creatures sent
against the ungodly,
but that seeing this they might know
that they were being pursued by the
judgment of God;
19    and at another time even in the midst of water it
burned more intensely than fire,
to destroy the crops of the unrighteous land.

20    Instead of these things you gave your people food of angels,
and without their toil you supplied them from
heaven with bread ready to eat,
providing every pleasure and suited to every taste.
21    For your sustenance manifested your
sweetness toward your children;
and the bread, ministering to the desire of the one
who took it,
was changed to suit everyone’s liking.
22    Snow and ice withstood fire without melting,
so that they might know that the crops of their
were being destroyed by the fire that blazed in the
and flashed in the showers of rain;
23    whereas the fire, in order that the righteous might
be fed,
even forgot its native power.

24    For creation, serving you who made it,
exerts itself to punish the unrighteous,
and in kindness relaxes on behalf of those who
trust in you.
25    Therefore at that time also, changed into all forms,
it [creation] served your all-nourishing bounty,
according to the desire of those who had need,
26    so that your children, whom you loved, O LORD,
might learn
that it is not the production of crops that feeds
but that your word sustains those who trust in you. [← See Deuteronomy 8:3]
27    For what was not destroyed by fire
was melted when simply warmed by a
fleeting ray of the sun,
28    to make it known that one must rise before the sun
to give you thanks,
and must pray to you at the dawning of the light;
29    for the hope of an ungrateful person will melt like
wintry frost,
and flow away like waste water.

Chapter 17
Verse 1

1    Great are your judgments and hard
to describe;
therefore uninstructed souls have gone astray.

Pay close attention to …

  • Why it is impossible for the ungodly to escape from God’s hand (vv. 16:16-19 )
  • How God provided for his people (v.16:(20 )
  • How fire is “changed” to suit God’s purposes (vv. 16:22-23 )
  • How God used creation (vv. 16:24-25 )
  • Verse 16:26 referring to God’s word as a source of sustenance

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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