Daily Bible Readings – Monday, December 2, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 2

Prayer Point. It is easy to forget about the power of God when we watch news or read the papers. Psalm 2 reminds us that Jesus, the Anointed One, is on the throne.  He is in control. Pray that these words might become real to us, that we might live in our world with bold, fearless love.

Matthew 21:1-11

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. It was not uncommon for Jewish royalty to ride donkeys. They rode horses during times of war, but donkeys in peacetime. When you consider this and the prophecy in Matthew 21:5, what is Jesus saying about himself and his relationship with the people in Jerusalem?

The pilgrims traveling with Jesus were coming to celebrate the Passover. The Passover is significant because it commemorated the time when God struck the Egyptians with plagues and parted the Red Sea which Israel passed through on their way to freedom. Passover raised the hopes that if God had done it in the past, perhaps this year he will do it again. What hopes do the pilgrims with Jesus have for 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.

2 Peter 1:1-11

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

Background. Peter, the author of this letter, was part of Jesus’ inner circle of disciples and was an “apostle” or “sent one” commissioned to bring his message to the world. This particular letter is a general letter, addressed to those who followed Jesus at the time and was circulated among their churches.

Letters from that time period followed a common format:

  • From (verse 1a)
  • To (verse 1b)
  • Greeting (verse 2)

Body of the Letter (verses 3 and following)

Pay close attention to …

  • How Peter and those he is writing to received their faith (verse 1).
  • How we receive grace and peace (verse 2).
  • What God’s power has given us (verses 3-4).
  • How we live in response to what God has done (verses 5-11).
  • Why some fail to make progress in their faith (verses 8-9).

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.

Amos 2:9-16

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. In Amos 2:6, Amos directs his warnings of God’s judgment towards Israel. He reminds them that “for three transgressions of Israel and for four, I will not revoke the punishment”. (v. 5) He then lists the offenses.

We pick up the prophecy with the LORD recalling how he had destroyed the Amorites who had, before the Hebrews came on the scene, inhabited the area of Canaan which was to become the inheritance of Judah. Another reminder about the deliverance from Egypt and the sojourn in the wilderness is recounted. These memories are brought forth so that these “stiff-necked” people will finally (?) see and understand that it was not their own strength that brought them these victories.

What sins are the people of Israel guilty of (see verse 12)?

In Numbers chapter 6 the description and responsibility of the Nazirites is outlined. “The LORD said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: “If a man or woman wants to make a special vow, a vow of separation to the LORD as a Nazirite, he must abstain from wine and other fermented drink and must not drink vinegar made from wine or from other fermented drink. He must not drink grape juice or eat grapes or raisins. As long as he is a Nazirite, he must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, not even the seeds or skins.

The most notable Nazirite (though perhaps not a great example) was Samson. Samuel and John the Baptist were believed to have been Nazirites though they are not identified as such in scripture. Paul the apostle is also thought to have taken a Nazirite vow as inferred in Acts 21:23-27. The nearest approximation we have today to a Nazirite might be monks and nuns.

The upshot of all this is that in Israel vows to the LORD were not taken seriously and were often broken.

What will judgment look like for Israel (see verses 13-16)?

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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