Daily Bible Readings – Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 11

Prayer Point.  Most of us are not victims of gross injustice and violence, but there are people in our community and in our world who are.  Pray this psalm on behalf those whose lives are threatened by oppression and injustice.

Matthew 11:7-15

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. John the Baptist, the prophet sent to prepare the world for Jesus’ arrival is deeply disappointed. He had expected his cousin Jesus to overthrow the evil oppressive powers that dominated Israel and establish God’s kingdom in its place. John had courageously called out the sins of Israel’s tyrant Herod, but had landed in jail for his trouble. Time past and John fell deeper into despair. He sends his disciples to Jesus and asks: “are you the one or should we wait for another.” Jesus confirms that he is the one and then turns to the crowd to tell them about John.

In this passage Jesus will refer to Elijah who was one of Israel’s great prophets. It was believed that Elijah would return prior to the coming of the Messiah to prepare the people for his arrival.

Pay close attention to …

  • What Jesus says about John despite his doubts (verses 7-12).
  • John’s identity for those who are willing to listen to him (verses 13-15).

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 John 4:7-21

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 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 9-10). 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 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).

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?

Deuteronomy 4:15-24

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. This section of Chapter 4 tells us exactly why it is that graven images are forbidden. Moses had had his issues with the children of Israel such that his anger cost him his own passage into the Promised Land. These people were not of a faithful nature: how many wonders would they have to see in order to believe? The wonders performed in Egypt visited upon their enemies — at least ten in number; the streams of water gushing from the rock; the manna in the wilderness; the quail; and the fact that nothing they owned deteriorated during the forty years of their journey. When twelve spies had been commissioned to scope out the land (about thirty-nine years earlier) the spineless cowards came back and dissuaded the leaders of Israel from venturing forth to take what the LORD had given them. So these folks don’t like depending on God for their food and water and don’t believe that he will see them through the process of conquering the land. As a direct result of this lack of faith the people were made to wander for forty years in the desert until that generation of unbelievers had died off. Only two men survived: Joshua (who would succeed Moses) and Caleb.

Pay close attention to …

  • How the LORD presented himself when he spoke with the people from the fire (v. 15 )
  • All the things on earth not to be copied into idols (vv. 16-18 )
  • Bonus points: what was the idol they created while Moses was busying himself up on Mount Sinai getting the Ten Commandments ? [God remembers what they do, but they forget what God does for them.]
  • The things not on earth which fall into this category (v. 19 )
  • The LORD’s purpose for the people (v. 20 )
  • The last warning in this section (vv. 23 )

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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