Daily Bible Reading – Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 119:25-48

Prayer Point.  Understanding and following the law of God (following Jesus) is very difficult.  Psalm 119 reminds us that we face formidable obstacles within ourselves and in the world around us.  Which obstacles are present in your life.  Lift those up to God and pray that he will give you the wisdom, the strength, the faith and the courage to follow Jesus.

Luke 15:1-2, 11-32

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 offended the religious leaders of his time by scandalously eating with “lost” sinners and tax collectors. Jesus responds with three stories that reveal God’s heart for those who are lost in their sin. The third and most famous of these stories, the Prodigal Son, is recounted in today’s reading.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you read this story:
There are two lost sons in the story. One is more obvious than the other.
Demanding inheritance from your father while he is living is the same as saying, “I wish you were dead.”
Respectable men did not humiliate themselves by running in public.
God is the Father in this story. The two sons are two ways of being a “lost” sinner.

Pay close attention to …

  • What causes the younger son to come home.
  • The younger son’s attitude as he approaches his father.
  • Contrast the father’s and the older brother’s responses to the return of the younger son.
  • Who is shut out of the celebration and why.

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?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

2 Corinthians 1:23-2:7

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. In the previous reading, 2 Corinthians 1:12-22, Paul mentioned that it was his intention to visit Corinth to encourage the church he founded. In today’s reading, he will explain the reason for his change of plans and offer the church in Corinth some guidance as they struggled with sin among them.

In verse 5, Paul speaks of a man who had been punished by the community. It is likely that this man was the one Paul had exhorted the Corinthians to expel from their church (see 1 Corinthians 5:1-5) who was living with his father’s wife. The idea behind the expulsion was the hope that the man would feel the seriousness of his sin, repent and return to following Christ. Apparently this man had experienced a change of heart.

In verse 14, Paul makes an allusion to a Roman victory procession which were common in his day. The victorious army paraded through the city leading their vanquished foes in celebration. Paul compares us to the prisoners of war who are led by the victorious Christ.

Pay close attention to …

  • Why Paul wrote a letter (which happened to be 1 Corinthians) instead of visiting the Corinthians in person. What Paul hoped the letter would accomplish. What the first letter (1 Corinthians) says about the nature of Paul’s relationship with this church.
  • How Paul encourages the Corinthians to treat the man, who had sinned grievously, but had now repented. What danger is there in continuing to be harsh and unforgiving towards this man?
  • The two reactions to the “fragrance of the knowledge of [God]” and why.
  • How Paul feels about his task in spreading the knowledge of God in the world and why.

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?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

Deuteronomy 11:13-21

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. The closing of Chapter 12 brings a stern warning: “…be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same.’ You must not worship the LORD your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the LORD hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.” (Deut. 12:30-31 NIV) This burning of the children gains some popularity among the more wicked kings of both Israel and Judah as the people drift away from their God.

Pay close attention to …

  • The prophet whose word and miracle come to pass but who urges the people to follow other gods (v. 3 )*
  • What the LORD is doing (v. 3 )**
  • That is to happen to that prophet who misguides the people (v. 5 )

This sentence is to be applied to anyone who would entice anyone else to worship other gods.

  • The nature of the punishment (vv. 9-10 )
  • The hoped-for result (v. 11 )

* The treatment of false prophets will be discussed later in Deuteronomy in Chapter 18 (verse 20) where the LORD determined that such must be put to death.

** Let’s understand this: the LORD is never surprised by anything — he knows everything. What is true is that the people were being tested but it was so that so that they themselves would know if they loved the LORD with all their heart and soul.

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?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

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