Daily Bible Readings – Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 82

Prayer Point.  While most gods were thought to side with the powerful, our God is as a God who defends the weak.  Pray today that God would intervene on behalf of the poor and the weak (people of Haiti, the unborn, children in the foster care system, the civilians in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Iraq, the millions starving in Somalia … )

Luke 20:27-40

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 background  to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background.  It is the Sadducees’ turn to attempt to discredit Jesus. The Sadducees were a powerful religious party in Israel whom the Romans placed in charge of the temple and the priesthood. They were favored because they downplayed “dangerous” ideas, such as the resurrection, which the Romans believed encouraged people to revolt. Notice that the Sadducees are attempting to discredit the idea of resurrection with their question.

Will marriage exist in heaven? How does Jesus demonstrate that even Moses believed in the resurrection?

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.

Acts 2:1-21

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 to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background.  Jesus promised in Acts 1:8, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” In Acts 2 this promise is fulfilled.

Understanding the Old Testament background will bring the events of Acts 2 into clearer focus.

The Hebrew word for “spirit” also means “breath and wind.” In Genesis 2:7, God literally breathes his spirit into the lifeless form of Adam and he becomes a living man. Here we see the spirit/wind/breath of God again. What is coming alive this time?

Pentecost was originally a Jewish holiday set 50 days after the festival of Passover. It celebrated the firstfruits of the harvest. Peek ahead to Acts 2:41. What “firstfruits of the harvest” do you see here?

Each year, pious Jews and “God-fearers” (Gentiles who practiced Judaism) made a pilgrimage to the city of Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. They stayed from Passover until the festival of Pentecost swelling the population of the city. The crowds (see Acts 2:9) witnessed the death of Christ on Passover and now they see the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost as their pilgrimage comes to an end. Why did God time these events this way? What will these pilgrims do with what they have just witnessed? Look back at Acts 1:8. What does God expect the church to do with the message of Jesus? Is it supposed to stay put?

In Genesis 10 there is a story of people who attempted to build a tower to heaven called the “Tower of Babel.” God seeing that this tower will inspire humanity to new heights of wickedness, scatters the people by confusing their speech. The people began the project speaking a common language, but God divided them into different language groups. Where do you see the Tower of Babel in reverse? Why do you think the Holy Spirit gave the crowds the ability to hear the message of Jesus in their own language?

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.

1 Samuel 2:12-26

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? Use the “Background” below to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background.  Israel was a place where the righteous suffered in shame, and the wicked grew wealthy and powerful.  God acts to set the world to rights.  Hannah is an example of a suffering righteous woman who is exalted by God.  In what ways does God continue to honor Hannah’s faithfulness?

Now God will begin to bring down the wicked. What wicked men are unjustly in power?  What kind of authority did they have?  In what ways did they abuse their authority?  The priests were given a portion of the meat sacrifices to feed their families, but there were certain portions that were to be burned and given to the Lord.  Apparently Eli’s sons were seizing portions of the sacrifice that were dedicated to the Lord.  Who is God raising up to replace these wicked priests?  

Eli warns his sons:

1 Samuel 2:25 If a man sins against another man, God may mediate for him; but if a man sins against the LORD, who will intercede for him?

That’s a good question.  What do we know today, that Eli did not know then?  See 1 Timothy 2:5-6.

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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