Daily Bible Readings – Sunday, June 2, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 103

Prayer Point.  Are looking for a reason to praise God? Psalm 103 gives you a number of options. Concentrate on two or three and offer your own prayer of praise.

Matthew 13:44-58

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’ mission is to preach the good news of the kingdom of God. But the question is: what exactly is the kingdom of God? In today’s reading, Jesus will tell four short stories or parables to show us what “the kingdom of God is like.”

Pay close attention to …

  • What the parable of the treasure in the field says about the value of the kingdom of heaven.
  • What the story of the merchant and the pearl tells us about the proper response to discovering the kingdom of heaven. Notice that the kingdom of heaven is compared to the treasure in the field in first parable and to the merchant in the second.
  • What two kinds of fish get caught up in the net of the kingdom of heaven and when they are separated.
  • How Jesus is received in his hometown and why.
  • In Jesus’ day, teachers of the law were a professional class whose job it was to study the Law of Moses and instruct the people in Israel as to the proper way to follow it. How is the kingdom of God consistent with the Old Testament Law? In what way is it something new?

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.

Revelation 10:1-11

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 opening of chapter 10 marks a change in John’s perspective of the vision. In chapter 4, John is invited into God’s heavenly throne room to see the world and world events from heaven’s perspective. In chapter 10, John’s perspective shifts back to earth.

A being called the “Angel of the LORD” appears at pivotal moments in the Old Testament stories. At times it is unclear whether the being is an angel or God himself. The same is true of the angelic being in Revelation 10.

Pay close attention to …

  • Based on what you have read, what in the description of this being would lead you to believe that this person may be Christ himself? Compare the description of the angel to the description of God in Revelation 4:2-5. Remember that the number seven is symbolic of God’s perfection. Where have we seen rainbows before in the Bible? See Revelation 4:3-6 and Genesis 9:12-17.
  • What does this angelic being announce? Compare this to Daniel 12:1-4.
  • Compare what happens to John to Ezekiel’s commissioning as a prophet in Ezekiel 3:1-15. Why is John asked to literally eat the words of God? How is this connected to his mission?

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 29:16-29

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. I doubt we can understand today the depth of importance the prohibition against idol worship carried. We have been looking at Deuteronomy for a couple of weeks now and the overriding focus has been on idol worship. The remainder of this chapter will also delve into that subject and the results of forgetting what the people should have remembered. Deuteronomy may be a re-telling of the law, but it is also a call to remember.

Pay close attention to …

  • What turning away from the LORD is compared to (v. 18 )
  • The warning against arrogance (v.19 )
  • The bad news (vv. 20-2 1)
  • The effects of the broken covenant (vv. 22-23 )
  • What the nations ask when they see this disaster and the reason (vv.24-25 )
  • The problem (vv. 25-26 )
  • The prophecy (v28 )*

*So much time and energy has been devoted to the issue of false gods and that’s just in this one book. It is an unfortunate truth that the issue of idolatry had plagued the Israelites ever since the death of Moses.

The kingdom of Solomon was divided because of his failure to remain faithful to the LORD. He was the wisest man alive at that time who thought that the counsel of God was inferior to his own. The LORD had commanded that he not marry “foreign” women for they would prove a snare to him. Solomon knew better. While he had 700 wives (and 300 concubines) the only wife mentioned is the “daughter of Pharaoh”. The insult here is that this marriage links Solomon to the one place with the bitterest memory. By the time Solomon dies he had managed to apostatize (separate) himself from God without much heart for repentance. (Whether he actually repented of his sins is anyone’s guess, but he is credited with writing some of the greatest wisdom contained in the Scripture, most of which was written shortly before he died. — j.t.)

When the kingdom divided after the death of Solomon, the foundation of the Northern Kingdom (Israel) was idolatry. Jeroboam (I) set up two centers of worship: Dan in the north and Bethel in the south. The objects at these sites happened to be “golden calves” which hearken to the days of the trek through the wilderness.

The fall of Samaria (the Northern Kingdom) came about in 722 B.C. or about 498 years after the death of Moses. Samaria’s “treacherous sister” (Judah) fell in 586 B.C. or about 634 years after Moses.

The prophecy was delivered so many years before which serves to prove God’s patience. The whole story is tragic and, likely, unnecessary. But this prophecy was fulfilled twice but to no one’s benefit. — j.t.

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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