Daily Bible Readings – Monday, October 28, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 52

Prayer Point.  David, an innocent man, is on the run from king Saul, has been betrayed by Doeg. In prayer he does not seek vengeance. Instead he remembers who he is in the eyes of God: “an olive tree flourishing in the house of God” (see verses 8-9). Meditate on that for a while and pray that you will be able to trust God and praise him from the midst of your fear.

Matthew 12:43-50

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. Jesus speaks primarily as a prophet in the final days of his ministry. He targets the religious and the moral people and not the dregs of society that we would expect. The religious have a fatal flaw. While they are devoted to keeping the law meticulously, they have rejected the giver of the Law, the Son of God, Jesus Christ (see Matthew 12:38-42).

What danger is there in “sweeping the house clean” (living morally), “getting rid of an evil spirit” without acknowledging that Jesus is God?

What does it take to be a part of Jesus’ true family?

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.

Revelation 1:4-20

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 church was in trouble. It’s people were being persecuted, and John, perhaps the last remaining of the original 12 apostles, has been arrested and exiled to the Island of Patmos, an island in the Aegean Sea off the Turkey’s western coast.

You can imagine that John is discouraged, he is cut from the churches he loved and served. The churches he writes to are mourning the loss of their beloved leader. It is in this setting that John sees a vision of Jesus and his message of one of courage and hope for his beleaguered apostle and churches.

Keep in mind that the book of Revelation is a collection of God-given visions. These aren’t photographs or videos, but dreams filled with symbols that point to a deeper meaning. We use the rest of the Bible to help us decipher the meaning of these symbols. Here are a couple that appear in today’s reading:

Lampstands were present in Israel’s temple and they are symbolic of God’s presence with his people. In this case, the lampstands represent God’s Holy Spirit which lives in each local church. There is one golden lampstand for each of the seven churches (Revelation 1:11).
Son of a man is reference to Christ’s divinity. See Daniel 7:13-14.

Pay close attention to …

  • Compare Jesus’ appearance in today’s reading to Daniel 10:4-10.
  • How John reacts to this vision of Jesus and compare it to Daniel 10:7-9.
  • What Jesus says to John and how it would have given courage to John and those who read this book. Think about why John needs a terrifying and powerful Jesus.

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.

Zechariah 1:7-17

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

Background. Like Haggai, Zechariah begins: “In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius…” (Zechariah 1:1 ESV). It is clear that both Haggai and Zechariah are addressing the ex-exiles at about the same time. The recurring theme is “return to me”. The LORD wants the people both to return to him and from their evil ways and deeds.

Zechariah experiences a vision of a man riding on a red horse. Naturally, Zechariah wants to know what this means. Also with the red horse were red, sorrel and white horses. Zechariah then asks “the angel who talked with me” “What are these, my lord?” (v. 9 ESV). The angel tells Zechariah that “these are they whom the LORD has sent to patrol the earth.” (v. 10 ESV) This actually harkens to Job 1:7 when Satan responds to God’s question: “‘From where have you come?’ Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘From going to and fro on the earth and from walking up and down on it.’” (Job 1:7 ESV) The similarities end there. These are angels patrolling through the earth reporting to the LORD that the world was as “rest”.

Why is the angel of the LORD troubled that by the report given by the man on the red horse that the world is at rest and peace? How does God feel about Jerusalem and Zion situation? Why does God’s anger burn against the nations (the nations that brought about Israel’s destruction)? How will God make things right?

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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