Daily Bible Readings – Saturday, May 18, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 33

Prayer Point.  Why should God be praised? Psalm 33 tells us that he is our creator, provider, sustainer, protector and savior. In what ways has God been these things for you? Remember them and thank him. After worshiping God, pray for the faith to trust God as you face the problems of today.

Luke 11:14-23

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? You can use the following “Background” and “Pay close attention to …”  sections to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. Jesus’ opponents, dismayed by his miracles and unmatched teaching, are desperate to discredit him.  Beelzebub is a Hebrew name for Satan.

Pay close attention to …

  • The two ways that Jesus’ opponents tried to discredit him (verses 14-16).
  • How Jesus demonstrates the absurdity of their argument (verse 17-23).

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Repent. How have I failed to obey and share what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.

Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey and share what I have read?

1 Peter 2:4-10

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? You can use the following “Background” and “Pay close attention to …”  sections to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background.  Central to today’s reading are prophesies from Isaiah and the Psalms. Each one of these passages foretold the coming of Jesus.

“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” (Isaiah 28:16)

“The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone …” (Psalm 118:22)

“A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” (Isaiah 8:14)

Jesus is the (living) stone in each of these passages. Those who rejected him as the Son of God stumbled and fell. Yet for those who believed in him, Jesus is both a cornerstone and capstone of a new temple that God is building.

God’s presence in the Old Testament was concentrated in the temple in Jerusalem. The temple is simply the place or spiritual house  where God’s presence lives and where one goes to worship him.  In today’s reading, Peter will speak of a new temple that is built on the cornerstone of the crucified and risen Lord, Jesus Christ.

The priests were those who served God in the temple and offered sacrifices and prayers on behalf of God’s people.  In today’s reading there will be a new priesthood to go along with a new temple.

Pay close attention to …

  • The identity of the living stones which make up God’s new spiritual house or temple.
  • Why Jesus is a stumbling stone for some and a cornerstone for others
  • The new priests in verse 9.
  • Why God chose to bestow this honor on those like us who were not a people and had not yet received God’s mercy.

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Repent. How have I failed to obey and share what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.

Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey and share what I have read?

Ezekiel 43:1-12

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? You can use the following “Background” and “Pay close attention to …”  sections to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. An allusion was made on Wednesday in the “Background” cited from Chapter 10 regarding the departure of the glory of the LORD.  This chapter draws a completely different picture, some think of the time of the restoration.
Because of the complexities regarding this passage I will defer to The ESV Study Bible for clarification.

From The ESV Study Bible p. 1564
“40:1-48:35 Vision of Restoration.  With the last date formula in the book appearing in 40:1 [‘In the twenty-fifth year of our exile…’], Ezekiel arrives at the beginning of the end.  The post-destruction oracles of chs. 33-37 concluded with a promise of divine presence that anticipates the final words of the book (cf. 37:26-28; 48:35).  The oracle against Gog in chs. 38-39 appeared to interrupt the movement toward realizing that presence.  That interpretation, however, assumes a reading of the book that focuses on the human plane, which is not Ezekiel’s perspective.  The most important thing is not human hope but divine glory.   The Gog oracle established God’s absolute supremacy among the nations. The book’s final vision accomplishes this same purpose, but within  the community of God’s own people.  Understood this way, the details of Ezekiel’s vision (which may strike the modern reader as mundane or obscure) take on their proper vitality and significance.  The vision of chs. 40-48 is a direct counterpart to the pre-destruction visions in chs. 8-11, in which the abominations practiced in Jerusalem drove the holy God from his temple.  In chs. 40-42, Ezekiel is again taken on a tour, this time of the new temple, which culminates with the return of the glory of God (43:1-5).  The voice of the LORD now instructs Ezekiel in the regulations for Israel’s renewed worship life (43:6-46:24).  When the “tour” resumes, Ezekiel witnesses the river flowing from the temple which brings life to the world (46:19-47:12).  The book concludes with the division of the land among the tribes with the new city and new temple at its heart, with equal access for all (47:13-48:35).

“With regard to the meaning of this passage as a whole: (1) Some interpreters understand this vision as a prophecy that will be fulfilled literally, with a rebuilt temple and Israel dwelling in the land according to its tribes —  a future millennial kingdom on the earth.  Many who hold this position believe that literal animal sacrifices will be offered, but that in the future millennial kingdom they will function as reminders of the complete and sufficient death of Christ, a function different from what they had in the OT.  (2) Other interpreters see this vision of a new temple and a renewal of the land of Israel as an extended, detailed metaphor predicting the presence of God among his people in the new covenant age (that is, his presence in the church).  (3) Another view is that the vision predicts God’s presence among his people in the new heavens and new earth (cf. Isa. 66:17;
2 Peter 3:13; Rev. 21:1), not as physical details that will be literally fulfilled but as symbolic indications of the great blessing of the future age.  In this interpretation, the details about worship and sacrifices are symbols of the centrality of the worship of God: the temple represents the orderliness and beauty of God’s heavenly dwelling place; the priests and their sacrifices represent the service and worship of all God’s people; the division of the land represents the allocation of places to live for all God’s people; and the river represents the outward flow of God’s blessings to his people forever.  (4) Finally, it is possible that there are both literal and symbolic elements in this vision, and that, as with the visions in Ezekiel , this vision describes future realities.  Almost all interpreters agree that Ezekiel 40-48 is one of the most difficult passages in the entire Bible.

“No matter which interpretation one adopts, certain primary emphases are quite clear.  The whole vision may be understood as describing the actual presence of God within the temple of the new community: chs. 40-42 prepare for it; ch. 43 realizes it; chs. 44-46 provide the rules for it; ch. 47 describes its effects; and ch. 48 lays out access to it.  The vision thus also presupposes threads and themes of earlier oracles: the supremacy of God; the requirements necessitated by his holiness; revitalization by the Spirit of God; honoring God by living in accord with his holiness; and ensuring the sanctity of the community by maintaining divine justice.”      From The ESV Study Bible p. 1564

Pay close attention to …

  • What the LORD’s voice sounded like (v. 2 )
  • What enters the temple and where it enters (v. 4 )
  • The “someone” speaking from inside the temple (v. 6 )
  • Why Ezekiel is told to describe the temple to the people of Israel (v. 10 )

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Repent. How have I failed to obey and share what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.

Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey and share what I have read?

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