Daily Bible Readings – Monday, November 18, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 89

Prayer Point.  God’s story with Israel is a tale of God’s faithfulness despite their faithlessness. God saves. His people forget. God sends judgment. His people cry out and God sends a Savior. Israel’s story is our story. Praise God for the ways he has been faithful to you. Confess the way you have been unfaithful to him. Lift up your needs to him and ask him to save you.

Matthew 17:1-13

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. Peter, James and John represented Jesus’ key leaders, his inner circle from among the twelve. They alone have the privilege of seeing a glimpse of Jesus’ true glory. Who do they see appearing with Jesus? How do you think they recognized Moses and Elijah?

Moses was Israel’s giver of the Law and Elijah was considered to be Israel’s greatest prophet. The Law and the Prophets together represented the Old Testament tradition. It would have been inconceivable for a Jewish person to imagine a man being greater than Moses or Elijah unless God explicitly revealed it. God is showing these men that Jesus is not only greater than Moses and Elijah, he is the one they pointed to.

What do they see of God on the mountain? Where is the God the Father? The Son? And the Holy Spirit? What is God the Father’s message to the Peter, James and John?

Compare the disciples’ response to the vision what that of Isaiah’s, who also saw the Glory of God (Isaiah 6:1-5).

Why do you think Jesus warns his disciples to keep this a secret until he rises from the dead? Do you think people would have crucified Jesus if they had seen him as he really is?

It was believed that Elijah would return prior the coming of the Messiah. Jesus affirms this teaching, but identifies John the Baptist as the “second Elijah”. John the Baptist was not Elijah, but ministered in the same spirit as Elijah and he was killed for his troubles.

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 20:7-15

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. The thousand years or millennium of Revelation 20:7 is one that has been hotly debated for the past 2000 years of church history. Some interpreters of the Bible believe that John speaks of a literal 1000 year reign of Jesus. Those who hold this view are divided into two camps, the premillenial (meaning that Jesus will return before the 1000 years) and the postmillenial (meaning that Jesus will return after the 1000 years). Others called amillenialists believe that the 1000 years are symbolic of the period of time we are living in right now. This is the opinion of the author. If you’d like to discuss it, I am thinking of scheduling a steel-cage match following one of our worship services.

I see chapter 20 as part of a theme that is repeated throughout the book: Satan is bound and the God’s people are protected for a season. In chapter 11, God’s people are symbolized by the two witnesses who are granted God’s protection for a season until the beast is released from the Abyss and kills them. In chapter 12, the woman is the new symbol of God’s people who is protected in the desert by God for 1260 days. Now in chapter 20, Satan is bound, freeing the church to spread the good news of Jesus all around the world.

What will happen when Satan is released from his prison? How will God vindicate his people in the end? Earlier in the chapter we learn that God’s ultimate protection for his people is that the “second death has no power over them.” What is this second death? Who will experience it?

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.

 

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