Daily Bible Readings – Friday, December 13, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 31

Prayer Point. It is easy to feel abandoned by God when bad times come. That’s why we need this psalm. It is the cry of a forsaken man who refuses to surrender his faith. Who is he? He is one who said, “into your hands I commit my spirit” as he hung from a cross (Luke 23:46). Give your concerns to God knowing that Jesus entered our world and suffered for us.

Matthew 23:27-39

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. To a Jew being in a tomb or anything associated with dead bodies would make a person ceremonially unclean.  What do the Pharisees look like on the outside? What are their insides like?

Israel had an antagonistic history with the prophets of God. It shouldn’t surprise us, because they were often sent by God to condemn them their for their sin and call them to return to God. Despite this sordid history, the tombs of the prophets became pilgrimage sites in Jesus’ day.  How did the Pharisees say that they felt about the prophets of God? How does this square with the way they treated THE prophet of God, Jesus? What judgment will come upon the Pharisees for their hypocrisy and their refusal to listen to Jesus? Abel was the first murder victim recorded in the Bible (see Exodus 4). Zechariah was a priest and prophet of God who called attention to the sins of Israel and was stoned to death in the temple by order of the king. (2 Chronicles 24:21)

How does Jesus feel about Jerusalem despite the fact that the city will ignore his warnings and kill him as they killed the other prophets? The image is that of a hen in a barnyard fire. A hen will gather her chicks under her, shielding her young from the flames while sacrificing her life. What does Jesus offer his enemies? Why do you think they refuse?

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 2:18-29

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. John, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, has been exiled to the island of Patmos for his faith. He is separated from the churches in Asia (Western Turkey) that he served and loved with all his heart. Like him, they are discouraged by the opposition they are faced from the Romans who appeared to be the undisputed powers of this world. But God sees the world differently and allows John to see a vision of Christ to encouraged him and the churches he served. Jesus commands John to pass on seven letters to the seven churches in Asia. Revelation 2:18-29, the letter to the church in Thyatira is the fourth of these seven letters.

You may notice that John writes “to the angel of the church in Thyatira.” This is not a guardian angel, the letters would not make any sense if this was the case, but a figure of speech referring to “the heart” of the local church. These letters are to be understood as personal messages from Jesus (“the words of the Son of God whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze”) to each church.

Pay close attention to …

  • What Jesus loves about the church in Thyatira and what he holds against them.
  • What they are to hold on to and what they are to let go of.
  • What is promised to them in they overcome (hang on to the teachings of 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.

Haggai 1:1-15

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. Interestingly the opening words of Haggai begin with: “In the second year of Darius the king…”  Well, wouldn’t you know it, the word of the LORD came to Haggai in the second year of Darius the king.  As we have seen, the people in Judah have been told that they may not rebuild their temple nor their city.  Evidently, however, they have been allowed to build their homes and to make improvements to them.

Why has the remnant that returned to rebuild Jerusalem harvested little? Why are they unable to quench their hunger and thirst? Why can’t their clothes keep them warm? Why is their money never enough? How did the people respond to the LORD’s admonition?

How does God encourage those who were old enough to remember the old temple? What does God promise for the future? Who do you think the ‘desired of nations’ is? What is this new temple that the LORD speaks of? See Acts 2:1-3 and Revelation 21:1-27. One thing that may help is to remember that the temple is not so much a building, but the place where God lives with his people. In Israel’s past, God dwelt first in the tabernacle (a tent), then in the temple. Then it was Jesus. Then it was the Holy Spirit living in the hearts of Jesus’ followers. And then at the end of time, God himself will make his home on earth at the restoration of all things.

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 thoughts on “Daily Bible Readings – Friday, December 13, 2013

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