Daily Bible Readings – Thursday, December 26, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 80

Prayer Point. This Psalm tells the story of God who led Israel out of slavery and “planted” them fertile soil of the Promised Land. They thrived until in pride they turned away from Him and His judgment came down upon them. Like Israel, our lives have been broken by sin, but we can still appeal to God for mercy.  Confess your sins to God and follow this psalm’s lead and ask God to restore us.

Luke 1:57-66

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. Elizabeth, the wife of the priest Zechariah and cousin to Mary, the mother of Jesus, gives birth to her son, John the Baptist. Elizabeth was an old woman and being childless was a great source of shame as most people at that time believed infertility to be a sign of God’s judgment.

It is now the eighth day after John’s birth, which was the day Jewish boys were named and circumcised. Boys were typically named after their father or a close male relative, but Elizabeth insists that he be named John in accordance to the instructions given by the angel (Luke 1:13). She speaks for her husband Zechariah, because he had been struck dumb by the angel for his unbelief and who could blame him, would you believe an angel in he told you that your elderly wife was about conceive?

Pay close attention to …

  • What happens to Zechariah when he names his Son in obedience to the angel’s instructions.
  • The reaction of the neighbors.

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.

Galatians 3:1-14

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. Abraham was revered as the father of the nation of Israel. You can read his story beginning with Genesis chapter 12. It was to Abraham that God first appeared and gave him the promise that we now know as the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ. In Genesis 12:1-3 God promised to make Abraham’s family into a great nation complete with a homeland and God’s protection, but the last promise was the greatest, “through you all the nations will be blessed.” This promise was fulfilled through Abraham’s descendant, Jesus, through whom the whole world is offered God’s forgiveness and blessing.

The key to understanding what Paul is saying in today’s reading is his argument that Abraham was made right with God, not by what he did (keeping the law), but by what he believed (the promises of God). You become a true child of Abraham, that’s how the Jews regarded themselves, not by keeping the law, but by believing in the promises that God gave to Abraham and fulfilled through Jesus Christ.

Pay close attention to …

  • The contrast between how the Galatians began to follow Jesus (“believing”) to what they were now trying (“law keeping”).
  • The reason God gave the Holy Spirit to the Galatians.
  • How it was that Abraham was declared “righteous” (right with God).
  • What is true of all those who try to make themselves right with God by obeying the Law.
  • How Jesus saved us from the curse of the Law.
  • Why Jesus redeemed us.

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 Samuel 7:18-29

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. Most approaches to religion go something like this: I do something for God. God does something for me. David takes it one step further. He will do something for God in response to what God has done for him. God you gave him a throne and a palace, now he will build God a temple. But David discovers that God doesn’t need nor want anything from him and so he offers up this prayer.

What does David do with his prayer? What does he offer up to God?  How will the LORD’s name be magnified forever, according to David? What house is David speaking of? What does David ask for and how does he know what to ask for?

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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