Daily Bible Readings, Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Psalm Prayer: 12

Prayer Point. If Psalm 10 is a protest against the prosperity of the wicked, Psalm 12 calls attention to the suffering of good people. Pray this psalm on behalf of a suffering brother and sister in Christ.

Mark 14:1-11

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? Using the following background as a guide.

Background. Here we see the Chief priests and the scribes looking for a way to capture and arrest Jesus by stealth. Their ultimate goal was to kill him. Why were the scribes and chief priests so angered by Jesus? What threat did he pose to them? Why do you think they sought to arrest him by stealth?

Jesus here is anointed at Bethany as he was reclining at table. Why were the disciples upset with the woman who anointed him? Once again we see Jesus teach that he is going to die. What was the purpose of this anointing according to Jesus?

We also see Judas Iscariot begin his betrayal of Jesus. Who does Judas go to? What do they promise him?

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 27:9-26

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? You can use the following background to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. It is getting on into September and October, a season of rough weather in the Mediterranean Sea. The Centurion is anxious to move on, but Paul urges them to stay in the port of Fair Havens, for he sees nothing but trouble ahead.

Whose advice is heeded? What happens when they put out to sea? Who alone on board is not afraid? Why? What does this person know? Compare Acts 27:23-24 to Acts 23:11.

Paul’s life mirrors the life of Christ in many ways. Both understood their final destiny. Jesus’ path led him to the cross outside Jerusalem, Paul’s road would end in Rome. Both knew God’s plan for their lives, both were committed to serving God and both lived their lives fearlessly. You might compare Paul’s experience in the storm to that of his Savior. See Luke 8:22-25.

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 3:1-15

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 to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. Very early in his reign Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt. In those days alliances were often confirmed in marriage between the parties. In this case Solomon married the daughter of Pharaoh. This is strictly forbidden by the law of God (“You shall not intermarry with them [strangers, foreigners]…” Deut. 7:3 ESV) While the law was making reference to the peoples Israel drove from the land, the intent was that if the Hebrews intermarried with non-Hebrews, these non-Hebrews would prove a snare to them. Samson is perhaps the finest example and the disaster he suffered from the hands of Delilah (see chapter 16 of Judges).

[ESV Study Bible Notes p. 597 3:1 marriage alliance with Pharaoh. This is another dubious act to add to those in chapter 2. Deuteronomy warns against a ‘return to Egypt’ (Deut. 17:16) in terms of too-close relations with that nation. The Hebrew verb (khatan), translated ‘made a marriage alliance’ in 1 Kings 3:1, is translated ‘intermarry’ in Deut. 7:3, where the command not to marry foreigners is explicitly tied to a warning that such marriages will lead the people to serve other gods (Deut. 7:4). This becomes all too real for Solomon (1 Kings 11:3-4). Even though Solomon ‘LORD the lord’ (3:3), he is a king with a divided heart, failing to keep the Law of Moses wholeheartedly as David had instructed (2:1-4)”]

“Solomon loved the LORD … And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there for that was the great high place.” (1 Kings 3:3a, 4) As we continue through the Old Testament we will see the prominent place the “high places” has in the history of Israel (usually not for good). Until the Temple was built sacrifices were offered where the tabernacle was located but it was not forbidden to make such sacrifices in other locations called “high places”. Interestingly enough, the LORD was good enough to visit Solomon in a dream while he was at Gibeon.

[ESV Study Bible Notes p. 597 “3:2 the high places. This is the standard translation of the Hebrew bamot, but it is not clear that height (whether natural or artificial) was an intrinsic feature of these worship sites. The idea is simply that of publicly accessible structures (including unenclosed altars and temple with altars) within which or on which offering were made to God or the gods. The continuation and proliferation of these local places of worship (as opposed to the one place of worship described in Deuteronomy 12) is one of the main concerns of the authors of 1-2 Kings (1 Kings 22:43; 2 Kings 12:3; 14:4; 15:4; 35). Solomon begins by tolerating worship of the LORD at these places and ends up being drawn into full-blown apostasy (1 Kings 11:7-8), as also later do Israel and Judah (e.g., 12:28-31; 2 Kings 21:3-9).”]

Solomon has a vision in a dream where the LORD appears to him and says, “Ask what I shall give you.” (1 Kings 3:5 ESV) After acknowledging all the good that the LORD had done for his father David, Solomon proceeds to his request: “And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. … Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your people?” (1 Kings 3:7, 9) Here Solomon displays unique wisdom (if not common sense) in this request.

The LORD was impressed! (How often can you say that?) “And God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.’” (1 Kings 3:11-14)

Solomon then returns to Jerusalem and there gives thanks to the LORD before the ark of the covenant.

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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