Daily Bible Readings – Monday, August 26, 2013

Psalm Prayer: 4

Prayer Point. Try praying this psalm right before you go to bed as it is a prayer to close the day. Start by unloading to God the frustrations of the day and the injustices you have seen (verses 1-2). Pray for faith (verse 3). Search your own heart and quiet yourself before God (verse 4). Place yourself in the hands of God and drift off to sleep (verses 5-8).

Mark 13:14-27

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? Using the following background as a guide.

Background. Once again we must preface this text with the statement that this passage has been hotly debated by scholars. To understand this passage we must look to beginning of the chapter and see how things unfold. Jesus had warned his followers not to panic during the various things that would happen in the coming days. Now we see Jesus warning his disciples to flee when they see the “abomination of desolation” standing where it ought not to be.

Jesus here may be talking about the siege of Jerusalem and the Temple when the Romans take over in AD 70. This was a terrible time according to the historian Josephus where times were so rough that the Jewish people were starving, resorting to cannibalism to stay alive, and where more Jews were killing Jews than the invading Romans. During this time the invaders set up an image or idol in the Temple that is an abomination to God. Jesus warns that this is to be a sign to the Jews to flee and not stick around for there will be great distress in Jerusalem.

Knowing this what can we take away from this passage for us today? When is it time to stay and when is it time to get out and run according to Jesus? To whom do we run to in this type of persecution?

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Repent. How have I failed to obey 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?

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

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

Acts 26:1-23

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 to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. The apostle Paul has been charged by the Jewish authorities as a disturber of the peace, someone who was hellbent on destroying Jewish customs and had defiled the temple by smuggling a Gentile into it (see Acts 24:5-7). The Romans weren’t concerned about Jewish tradition so much, but they did care about peace and stability. Their empire depended on “peace” even if it was imposed by the sword.

Paul has been in prison for several years now, not because the Romans considered him to be a criminal, but because they feared that the Jews would riot. Finally, Paul has his day in court before King Agrippa.

Why does Paul consider himself fortunate to be in Agrippa’s court? What story does Paul chose to tell considering that Agrippa is sympathetic to the Jewish faith?

Paul’s opponents were trying to say that he was out to destroy the Jewish faith. How does Paul demonstrate that Jesus is not the end of the Jewish faith, but the fulfillment of its hopes and dreams (see verse 6-8)? How does Paul explain his sudden conversion? How does he account for his enemies’ hatred? What did the prophets and Moses (the Old Testament) say about Jesus’ life in verses 22-23.

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Repent. How have I failed to obey 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?

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

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

1 Kings 1:5-31

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. David is old and cold and quite literally impotent. Great pains are taken to make David comfortable so they present him with a present – the Shunammite woman (Abishag) the problem is that she is unable to bring about the rejuvenation in the king desired. Adonijah (meaning “Jehovah is my lord” Scofield Study Bible) saw this as an opportunity to make his move. “Now Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, ‘I will be king.’” (1 Kings 1:5 ESV) Interestingly enough, Adonijah begins exactly as his older brother Absalom had: chariots and horsemen and fifty men to run before him. Adonijah and Absalom share so much: both undertake to usurp the king’s rule; both were handsome and David’s response is less than stellar. This time Joab and Abiathar the priest join with the conspiracy. However, Zadok (also a priest), Nathan the prophet and Shimei (the fellow who cursed and threw stones at David during Absalom’s rebellion) remained loyal to David.

[ESV Study Bible Notes p. 591]

“1:5-6 Adonijah was the fourth of David’s sons born in Hebron (2 Sam. 3:2-5), and the eldest surviving. The first Amnon, and the third, Absalom, have died by this point in the story (2 Samuel 13-18), and the second Chileab, is presumably also dead (unmentioned after 2 Samuel 3). Exalted himself. This implies that Adonijah is usurping David’s (and God’s) right to designate a successor (cf. the same term in Num. 16:3 “They assembled themselves against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, ‘You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?’”); this contrasts with David, who waited patiently waited got God to raise him to office, even refusing to take Saul’s life ((1 Sam. 16-31). Here, however, the authors recall Absalom in there reference to chariots and horseman (or horses) and men (cf. 2 Sam. 15:1); and by their reference to the fact that Adonijah was a very handsome man (cf. 2 Sam. 14:25-26), they already hint that he too is heading for disaster. His father had never asked, ‘Why have you done thus and so?’ Adonijah, like Absalom, was in part the product of parental negligence and indulgence; David never held him accountable for his actions.”]

The invitees to Adonijah’s celebration of his coronation (sacrificing of oxen and sheep and fattened cattle) included all of the king’s sons but one, but did not include Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the general, or Solomon. But how to tell David?

Nathan tells Bathsheba to go to the king and say to him, “‘Did you not, my lord the king, swear to your servant, saying, “Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne?” Why then is Adonijah king?’” Bathsheba underscores the importance of what Adonijah has done: “And now, my lord the king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, to tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. Otherwise it will come to pass, when my lord the king sleeps with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon will be counted offenders.” (1 Kings 1:20-21 ESV) While she is yet speaking in walks Nathan the prophet who parrots Bathsheba’s words. To be sure if Adonijah were confirmed as king, the first order of business would be to kill off all pretenders to the throne (Solomon and Bathsheba) – the loose ends.

David then confirms his successor. “‘As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my soul out of every adversity, as I swore to you by the LORD, the God of Israel, saying, “Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,” even so will I do this day.’ Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the ground and paid homage to the king and said, ‘May my lord King David live forever!’” (1 Kings 1:29-31 ESV)

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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