Daily Bible Readings – Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 128

Prayer Point.  Why do we struggle to follow Jesus? Because we don’t believe that obedience is the path to fulfillment. Confess your sins to God today and pray for the faith to believe the promises that are given in this psalm.

Matthew 9:9-17

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. The tax collector, Matthew (who is the author of this book), and his friends were some of the most hated men in all of Israel. They not only worked for the oppressive Roman government, they were cheats as well. It was well known that the tax collectors took more than their fair share. You can imagine the utter dismay of the Pharisees when they hear that Jesus was dining with them. Thus they ask the disciples why Jesus is eating with tax collectors and sinners. What is Jesus’ response to the Pharisees? In what way should the church follow that example? What does it mean when Jesus says, “I desire mercy not sacrifice”?

Here John’s disciples ask a legitimate question. “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” What is Jesus’ answer to John’s disciples? Who is the bridegroom? Who is the bride?

In Bible times, wine was not kept in glass bottles, but in goat skins sewn around the edges to form watertight bags. New wine expanded as it fermented, stretching the wineskin. After the wine had aged, the stretched skin would burst if new wine was poured into it. New wine, therefore, was always put into new wineskins (Life Application Study Bible Notes). The point Jesus is making is that fasting does not “fit” the time while the bridegroom, Jesus, is with his disciples, just as new wine does not “fit” into old wineskins.

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 Corinthians 11:23-34

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. Paul received the tradition of communion from __________ and passed it on to ___________.

Communion, sometimes called the Lord’s Supper was instituted by Jesus as he celebrated the Passover meal with his disciples on the night he was betrayed by Judas and arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. See Matthew 26:17-30. Just as the first Passover was celebrated on the night before Israel’s liberation from slavery in Egypt, so also the first Communion was celebrated on the night before Jesus liberated us from slavery to sin by going to the cross and rising from the dead. Just as the breaking of bread and the drinking of wine were part of the celebration of Passover, the cup and the bread are shared in communion.

What is the significance of the bread and the cup? For what purpose do we drink the cup and eat the bread? What should we do before we eat the bread and drink the cup?

Paul has a warning for those who participate in communion in an unworthy manner. Celebrating communion unworthily is connected to not “recognizing the body of the LORD”. While some have argued convincingly that failure to recognize the body of the LORD, is taking the bread and cup without recognizing Jesus’ body and blood in the elements, I believe that Paul has a different form of Christ’s body in mind. The church community is the body of Christ that has gone unrecognized.  Look at verse 33 and verses 20-22 to see what Paul means by celebrating communion unworthily. What have the Corinthian Christians experienced because they made a mockery of the Lord’s Supper?

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.

2 Kings 22:14-23:3

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. [ESV Study Bible Notes p. 689] “22:8 I have found the Book of the Law. The phrase “Book of the Law” is used in the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) only in reference to Deuteronomy (e.g., Deut 28:61; 29:21), which was read to the king and provided the basis for his actions. Available to the kings of Israel and Judah in previous years (cf. 1 Kings 2:3; 2 Kings 10:31; 14:6; 18:6), it was evidently lost or concealed during the long reign of the apostate Manasseh, who systematically infringed its laws.

The book of the Law was rediscovered after being lost for decades. To King Josiah’s horror, he discovers that Israel was bound by a covenant to God, to love and worship Him exclusively and love their neighbor as themselves. They have failed miserably and now live in fear that the threatened curses will fall on them because of their sin. Desperate for a word from God, a delegation is sent to the prophetess Huldah.

What is Huldah’s message to Josiah? What grace will God extend Josiah because of his humility and sorrow for the sins of Israel?

The kindness God extends is not unlike the mercy shown to the despicable Ahab! (See 1 Kings 21:25-29.)

What does Josiah do once he hears from Huldah? Why do you think he calls the people to repent and rededicate themselves to their covenant with God when judgment has been pronounced to be inevitable? Do you think God’s justice can be turned by true repentance and faith?

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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