Daily Bible Readings – Thursday, December 5, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 18

Prayer Point. Although Psalm 18 arises out of David’s life experience, it belongs to his son, Jesus. It is Jesus who is suffering unjustly in our place. It is God the Father who rescues his Son from death and crowned him the King of Kings. Meditate on the love, forgiveness and power of God expressed through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

Matthew 21:33-46

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 often used parables to explain his teachings, but here he uses a story to announce God’s judgment. The vineyard in the story represents Israel, the people of God. The landowner is God. The tenants were those who were entrusted with the care of the vineyard, the chief priests and elders of Israel. The servants of the landowner represent the prophets of Israel (Isaiah, Jeremiah are two examples). How are the prophets of God treated (see also Matthew 23:29-32)? How is the son of the landowner treated and why? Who do you think this son represents?

What will happen to the son who was killed (verse 42)? What will become of the wicked tenants? To whom will the vineyard be given? Why are the chief priests ready to kill Jesus at the end of his message?

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 3:11-18

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. What kind of life should we live while we wait for the “day of God” (God’s final judgment of the world)? While this world will be destroyed, what hope do God’s people look forward to?

A ______________________ AND a _________________________ (verse 13)?

The Lord’s patience meant that the suffering of Peter’s readers continued for the short-term as the “day of God” was delayed. What good comes from God’s slowness? As the letter comes to close, what does Peter perceive as the greatest threat to the church while it waits for the return of Christ? What should we grow in while we wait for 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.

Amos 4:6-13

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

Background. What calamities did God rain down on Israel?  What was the purpose of these disasters?  Did they accomplish their purpose? Why or why not?

So what does it take for them (us?) to wake up to the “low whisper” of the LORD? Low whisper indeed! Pestilence, drought, mildew and hunger! There are at least two responses to this beckoning: either to surrender to the will of God or to continue resisting. Why is submitting to the LORD so difficult?Once our hearts are finally broken submission becomes a more natural response to God.

In verse 12 “prepare to meet your God O Israel!” sounds more like a threat than a consolation. Surely after the litany of Israel’s sins, meeting God might not be at the top of the list of things to do! On Wednesday at Panera©, I was reminded that God did not need to create anything much less me. It seems to me that whenever the LORD speaks to us he is “going out of his way” because he doesn’t need us at all. This is the season of Advent and it is time to “prepare to meet your God O Israel!” Put in this context, this is not a warning but rather a hope. “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his this temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:1 ESV)

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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